A Perfect Day for Bananafish

Added October 1, 2011
  • A Perfect Day for Bananafish
  • J. D. Salinger
  • New Yorker Magazine, New York, January 31, 1948

perfect-day-for-bananafish-new-yorker-front-cover Up to this time, the New Yorker had published only one of Salinger’s short stories (Slight Rebellion Off Madison — December 21, 1946). According to Wikipedia, because of the ‘singular quality’ of A Perfect Day for Bananafish, Salinger was offered (and signed) a contract with the New Yorker, giving them first refusal of his future work. He would go on to publish several more short stories and novellas in the New Yorker over the next seventeen years.

His last published story was to come out in the New Yorker in 1965, a full thirty-five years before his recent death in January, 2010.

An interesting fact - A Perfect Day for Bananafish is the first published Salinger story featuring a member of the Glass family; the fictional New York family of gifted children who would go on to inhabit much of his later work.

A year later, in 1949, the New Yorker perfect-day-for-bananafish-new-yorker-story put A Perfect Day for Bananafish into an anthology of their best short stories, and in 1953 this story was included in the wonderful Nine Stories collection.

But this magazine is the true first printing of the story, and thus it is highly sought-after and valuable, especially in good condition.

Having said that, it seems that condition makes slightly less difference with these old magazines than it normally would with a book. For one thing, these magazines were made to be disposable. For another, they were mailed folded in half and with address stickers attached. If the magazine is pretty clean and the cover and pages are intact, it can fetch a high price these days. There are none for sale on-line today, but I would say that you should expect to pay up to $500.

By the way, if you have current short story writers you like, check to see whether any of their stories have been published in magazines. Many have. You can buy magazines new for a few dollars, or near new for maybe a bit more, maybe less. Keep them safe in protective mylar sleeves, and down the road you may be pleasantly surprised.

As an example, you couldget these New Yorker magazines with Salinger stories in them, even as recently as a few years ago, for a fraction of their current value.

perfect-day-for-bananafish-new-yorker-back-cover This particular New Yorker has several creases and minor chipping down the spine, but is otherwise quite nice. There is no crease down the middle of the cover, and there is no address sticker, or residue. I would rate the overall condition good plus.

Lots of folks collect the old New Yorkers for their cover art and their beautiful advertisements, never mind the high quality writing. And to this day, although it is getting more rare, it is not unheard of to find these old magazines at yard sales or thrift shops.

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