A Girl I Knew

A Girl I Knew
Original Publication DateFebruary 1, 1948
Salinger.org Rating3.3

Originally to be titled Wien, Wien. This wonderful story seems rather autobiographical. The narrator flunks out of college and is sent to Vienna to study German and doesn’t get, and doesn’t want to get, the girl. At the end the story suddenly shifts gears and zooms into the future, which doesn’t work too well with the rest of the piece.

Probably for every man there is at least one city that sooner or later turns into a girl. How well or how badly the man actually knew the girl doesn’t necessarily affect the transformation. She was there, and she was the whole city, and that was that.


The un-translated line (“Sie sind sehr schön. Weissen Sie dass?”) translates to “You are very pretty. You know that?”