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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Blunt. Realistic. A Great Read.
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...
Published on 1 May 2012 by FlatCapReviewer

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It falls apart in the second half
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...
Published on 22 Jan 2012 by Rusty


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It falls apart in the second half, 22 Jan 2012
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Rusty (London, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters; Seymour - an Introduction (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
4.0 out of 5 stars Blunt. Realistic. A Great Read., 1 May 2012
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This review is from: Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters; Seymour - an Introduction (Paperback)
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
5.0 out of 5 stars See More of Seymour Glass . . . Even Though He Doesn't Appear, 27 Mar 2011
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 124,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters; Seymour - an Introduction (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. It's a bit like watching a tornado unfold at a distance and then noticing to your chagrin that the tornado is headed your way. Everyone will like this story. The surface story is compelling and easy to follow. Pay attention to the little things. There's lots of wonderful symbolism here.

When Seymour: An Introduction came out, many people didn't get it. Today, many still don't. Buddy Glass is ostensibly talking to the reader . . . but not really. It's more of an internal monologue with complete sentences and good spelling (Virginia Woolf's approach in Mrs. Dalloway) where we see two Glasses (Buddy and Seymour) reflecting and refracting one another from Buddy's perspective. Buddy characterizes what he's doing as a semi-diary with no dates. If that seems a bit claustrophobic, it is. Be sure to read all of J.D. Salinger's other works first so that you'll be more used to his writing style. The work is painstakingly gorgeous . . . and intriguing. You'll never think about perception in quite the same way again.

"Seymour once said that all we do our whole lives is go from one little piece of Holy Ground to the next. Is he never wrong?"

The latter work has lots of references to various spiritual perspectives, but it's certainly not a theological work . . . rather a view of life colored with spiritual insight. You may not agree with Salinger's spiritual perspective. Don't be surprised. I don't think many people do. Enjoy this as a work of astonishingly deliberate and effective character development, in which the character isn't present.

Masterful, Mr. Salinger . . . just masterful!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars See more glass, 2 Dec 2013
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This review is from: Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters; Seymour - an Introduction (Paperback)
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, 17 Nov 2013
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This review is from: Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters; Seymour - an Introduction (Paperback)
This book is amazing. Focused almost exclusively on Seymour Glass, Salinger continues to show in this book the specificity and geniality of the Glass family. Fantastic.
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