"Miss Carpenter. Please. I know my own business," the young man said. "You just keep your eyes open for any bananafish. This is a perfect day for bananafish."
"I don't see any," Sybil said.
"That's understandable. Their habits are very peculiar. Very peculiar." He kept pushing the f loat. The water was not quite up to his chest. "They lead a very tragic life," he said. "You know what they do, Sybil?"
She shook her head.
"Well, they swim into a hole where there's a lot of bananas. They're very ordinary-looking fish when they swim in. But once they get in, they behave like pigs. Why, I've known some bananafish to swim into a banana hole and eat as many as seventy-eight bananas." He edged the float and its passenger a foot closer to the horizon. "Naturally, after that they're so fat they can't get out of the hole again. Can't fit through the door."
— J.D. SALINGER, "A PERFECT DAY FOR BANANAFISH"
Like most solitary activities, reading encourages daydreaming, and this might explain why a book can call up memories of another to which it bears absolutely no resemblance. I hadn't thought of J.D. Salinger's short stories for years, until starting Wouldn't It Be Nice?, the autobiography of Brian Wilson, the former Beach Boy whose songs for his group— about little deuce coupes, California girls, and the warmth of the sun— are themselves part of my generation's collective memory. (Wilson wrote the book with Todd Gold, a reporter for People magazine.) "A Perfect