A book captivates you. The characters are like family. For better or worse, you’re invested in their fates. Then the final page turns. What will become of them? These living, breathing beings abandoned by their authors? Many readers continue to imagine their favorite characters’ lives long after the story ends. So Count Vronsky, whatever became of you? What’s next, Harry Potter, Scarlett O’Hara, Scout Finch? And one could hardly begin to track the technically posthumous adventures of Jane Austen’s creations, whose reincarnations are more numerous than Shirley MacLaine’s. Continuing characters’ lives is not only a fun (and sometime deeply necessary) occupation: animating a favorite character beyond her original pages is also a cottage industry. There’s a whole genre online called fan fiction (birthplace of Fifty Shades of Grey, btw) where the stories of beloved (and reviled) characters continue on past their authors’ intent.
Few characters have endeared themselves to readers like J.D. Salinger’s charismatic dramatis personae: Franny, Zooey, Holden–of course, Esme, Buddy, you know the names. Aside the incomparably iconic Holden Caulfield, the winner of the great character fascination sweepstakes has got to be Seymour Glass, the friendly, innocent, genius suicide who first appears in the exquisite étude on agony called A Perfect Day For Bananafish. If Seymour affected readers so much, how must he have affected that little girl on the beach, Sybil Carpenter, during the sad and perfect day chronicled in the story? Well the Japanese writer Mieko Kawakami has imagined it for us–the old age of that three-year-old who brushed briefly against a pacific Seymour Glass in his final hours. The terrific Japanese journal Monkey Business brings us the story, A Once-Perfect Day For Bananafish. Fan Fiction by an artist.