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Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters; Seymour - an Introduction Paperback – 4 Mar 2010


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Product details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; Re-issue edition (4 Mar 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0241950465
  • ISBN-13: 978-0241950463
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 0.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 54,512 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

J D Salinger was born in 1919. He grew up in New York City, and wrote short stories from an early age, but his breakthrough came in 1948 with the publication in The New Yorker of 'A Perfect Day for Bananafish'. The Catcher in the Rye was his first and only novel, published in 1951. It remains one of the most translated, taught and reprinted texts, and has sold some 65 million copies. It was followed by three other books of short stories and novellas, the most recent of which was published in 1963. He lives in Cornish, New Hampshire.

Product Description

About the Author

J D Salinger was born in 1919. He grew up in New York City, and wrote short stories from an early age, but his breakthrough came in 1948 with the publication in The New Yorker of 'A Perfect Day for Bananafish'. The Catcher in the Rye was his first and only novel, published in 1951. It remains one of the most translated, taught and reprinted texts, and has sold some 65 million copies. It was followed by three other books of short stories and novellas, the most recent of which was published in 1963. He lives in Cornish, New Hampshire.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Rusty on 22 Jan 2012
Format: Paperback
I've recently revisited all of Salinger's back-catalogue, having only ever read "The Catcher In The Rye"... and I must say that I've enjoyed just about all of it. The short stories in "For Esme With Love and Squalor" are all excellent and serve as a great introduction to some of the Glass family characters. I also thought "Franny and Zooey" were two accomplished works of prose that further enriched the Glass family backstory.

But with these two novellas, something seems to have gone wrong. The first section is a very good read... a well-drawn vignette focusing on the fallout from a disatrous wedding. But then comes the second section of "Seymour - An Introduction"... and Salinger seems to deliver a massive creative misfire.

Both stories are supposed to be narrated by Buddy Glass... but they couldn't be more different in tone and style. The first is measured, succint and symbolic. The second is heavy-handed, rambling and obscure. It's hard to swallow that they're coming from the pen of the same author. And the big shame overall is that Seymour Glass - still a tantalising enigma by the close of "Raise High The Roof Beam" - has somehow lost all of his appeal by the end of this second novella. Buddy Glass (i.e. Salinger) tries to turn Seymour into some kind of transcendant god and it leaves a bad taste in the mouth. We, the readers, have only ever met Seymour once in the flesh (in the short story "A Perfect Day For Bananafish") so why should we be expected to share in this slavish reverence for him? A reverence that relies far too heavily on lofty Buddhist ideals and internalised waffle?

It feels like there's a lot missing from Salinger's work on the Glass family. I suspect he wrote many more short stories and novellas, all unpublished, that would throw greater light on these characters and explain why this odd sketch of Seymour was even necessary. But I also suspect we'll never see any of it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By FlatCapReviewer on 1 May 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
J.D. Salinger may be best known for his infamous novel 'The Catcher in the Rye' yet his prowess as a short story writer seems to have been forgotten which is quite a shame. Salinger's short stories provide quite a useful insight into a cynical, or at least a more realistic, look at the world instead of the fantasy and feel good books that are pumped into teenagers' heads at the moment like Twilight or some nonsense like that. If you want a good book, then get this.

'Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction' were written separately in the mid to late 1950s and were published together in 1963, yet they are still as relevant today as they were then, giving realistic looks of America in the 1950s while criticising all those who made up the façade of a "happy" society. Through the use of intelligent characters Salinger provides a brilliant and witty look at the world which can make you laugh and think about the world you live in at the moment about whether your life reflects any the characters Salinger portrays.

Admittedly this book isn't for everyone. While 'Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters' is a highly readable piece of writing, 'Seymour: An Introduction' can be seen as a bit dry and in comparison to some of his other short stories, which I also recommend you read, it is not as entertaining. However if you have read anything else written by Salinger then you will enjoy reading this and I definitely recommend that you do.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 27 Mar 2011
Format: Paperback
"The construction of its wall was of jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass. The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with all kinds of precious stones: the first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, the fifth sardonyx, the sixth sardius, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst. The twelve gates were twelve pearls: each individual gate was of one pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass." -- Revelation 21:18-21 (NKJV)

Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction certainly do remind me of the Revelation description of the New Jerusalem. It's like nothing you've ever seen before and will leave you with a sense of astonishment.

When thinking about how to develop a character, most authors rely on what the character does and says (as J.D. Salinger did in his first famous story about Seymour Glass, "A Perfect Day for Bananafish"). More sophisticated authors learn to include internal dialogue to expand the reader's view, as James Joyce did so well in Ulysses.

But a real person exists also through the perceptions of those whose lives are influenced by the person's existence. J.D. Salinger employs two extreme versions of such perspectives in these two longer stories that were first published in The New Yorker.

Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters brings Buddy Glass (Seymour's slightly younger brother) to New York for Seymour's wedding day. Right away, there's a problem: Seymour isn't in sight. Buddy finds himself attached to a part of the wedding party that doesn't realize he's the missing groom's brother.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kernowdog on 2 Dec 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Two more additions to Salinger's intermittently published 'novel' about Seymour Glass and his six younger siblings - but mostly he's interested in the almost saintly, war-traumatised Seymour. In the first novella, with a title derived ironically from a wedding celebration poem by Sappho, greeting the triumphant groom, Seymour fails to turn up for his own wedding. His brother, the narrator Buddy, represents the family and has a torrid time in a limousine with the bride's vicious family, then at his brother's apartment. In the second novella Buddy muses impressionistically on is older brother's life and suicide. Brilliant prose, though many critics hated it when it was published.
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