Friday, November 8, 2019

“A visitor in a garden”

It is 1939. “Jean de Daumier-Smith” — not his real name — is in Montreal, working as an instructor at Les Amis Des Vieux Maîtres, a husband-and-wife correspondence art school. One night de Daumier-Smith stops and looks into the window of the orthopedic-appliances store on the ground floor of the building that houses Les Amis. And “something altogether hideous” happens:

J.D. Salinger, “De Daumier-Smith’s Blue Period,” in Nine Stories (1953).

Related reading
All OCA Salinger posts (Pinboard)

comments: 2

Anonymous said...

This is my very favorite story from NINE STORIES, especially for the passage you quote. Unfortunately, the story's treatment of the Japanese couple--there are comparisons to Fu Manchu and the use of the word "inscrutable"--is painful to read today.

Michael Leddy said...

Yes, the narrator gets the word inscrutable from Sax Rohmer. But then everyone and everything in the story — except Sister Irma — comes in for the narrator’s condescension and derision, no? I read inscrutable as the narrator’s self-satisfaction with his own hardly original wit, as there’s really nothing inscrutable about M. Yoshoto (aside from how he and his wife have managed to create this school and get students).