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Raise High the Roof beam, Carpenters And Seymour: An Introduction [Turtleback]

J. D. Salinger
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)

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Hardcover CDN $20.05  
Turtleback, August 2003 --  
Paperback CDN $12.27  
Mass Market Paperback CDN $8.55  
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Book Description

August 2003 0606288384 978-0606288385
The author writes: The two long pieces in this book originally came out in The New Yorker ? RAISE HIGH THE ROOF BEAM, CARPENTERS in 1955, SEYMOUR ? An Introduction in 1959. Whatever their differences in mood or effect, they are both very much concerned with Seymour Glass, who is the main character in my still-uncompleted series about the Glass family. It struck me that they had better be collected together, if not deliberately paired off, in something of a hurry, if I mean them to avoid unduly or undesirably close contact with new material in the series. There is only my word for it, granted, but I have several new Glass stories coming along ? waxing, dilating ? each in its own way, but I suspect the less said about them, in mixed company, the better. Oddly, the joys and satisfactions of working on the Glass family peculiarly increase and deepen for me with the years. I can't say why, though. Not, at least, outside the casino proper of my fiction.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Super Unpleasant! July 14 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
For some reason, probably because I'm an idiot, I read this after reading Franny and Zooey. I had already read everyone else Salinger wrote and decided to finish off his career. His nine stories are much better, especially when compared to this. Compared to this, a kick in the crotch seems nice.
Like Franny and Zooey, these two stories are about the Glass Family, which is made up of very intelligent siblings that used to be on a radio quiz show. Salinger's style here is not simplistic and lucid like in Catcher in the Rye, but instead is pretentious and convoluted. It's as though he took everything about Catcher in the Rye that was good and did the opposite. The narrative is extreme stream of conscious, almost at the level of Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury.
I don't remember what the premise of the story is because it was barely there. I know it has something to do with Seymour's marriage, but the stories are more about the characters than their setting. However, since the writing is so unpleasant this makes it very difficult to read. I don't recommend this book to anyone and thinking about it makes me feel bad inside in a way I imagine one would feel after doing something terrible, like killing a man or breaking a prized possession. The reason for the latter maybe because the time spent reading this book was wasted. I gained nothing from the experience except a hatred for these characters who, if they ever make the mistake of physically manifesting themselves in my presence, I will beat with such fervency that they will be sent into a coma from which they will never recover.
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Format:Mass Market Paperback
This book is actually a melding of two stories which delve deeper into the history of the Glass family, who was introduced earlier in Salinger's works.
"Raise High" followed the adventures of Buddy as he prepared to attend the wedding of his brother, Seymour. However, Seymour fails to show up at the wedding, and the rest of the story continues as Buddy converses and invites the family and friends of the bride over to his house to escape from the hot day. Although this was a good story that brought other things to light about the Glass family, it was no way comparable to "Franny and Zooey" or the short story that first introduced us to Seymour, "A Perfect Day for Bananafish".
"Seymour: An Introduction" is a paradoxical title for the next story, because as mentioned in the previous paragraph, the reader has already become fairly familiar with the character of Seymour. The reader follows Buddy's mind as he describes his elder brother whom he deeply admires, but it almost feels like you're stuck in the mind of an ADHD. He jumps from topic to topic and the transitions are almost impossible to follow - I found my mind wandering quite a bit with this one. If I hadn't already had an interest in the Glass family, I probably would not have finished this story. It was long-winded and not very thematic. It does, however, bring the reader closer to the Glass family and give insight into the background of the different characters presented.
It is also worthwhile to mention that one should definitely read Salinger's first two stories regarding the Glass family, "A Perfect Day For Bananafish" and "Franny and Zooey" in order to gain an interest in the family before embarking on "Raise High" and "Seymour". Without having gained a love for the characters first, it will be difficult to enjoy and understand these stories at all.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The next step June 1 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
After having read all of Salinger's currently available works (obviously many will be published upon his death) except for this one, I found it incumbent upon myself to finish the J.D. Salinger tour with this two story compilation that seemingly concludes (at least for now) the enthrallingly enigmatic, not to mention neurotic, Glass family.
While both are told via Buddy's first person narrator perspective, Raise High the Roof Beam is a far superior effort, although I must admit that I thoroughly enjoyed Seymour: An Introduction as well -- just not as immensely as its predecessor. After reading both, one seems to learn a great deal more about Buddy, Boo Boo, Les and Bessie, Walt, and Franny & Zooey than Seymour himself. Buddy admittedly refuses to delve into the years immediately prior to Seymour's suicide(deftly written in A Perfect Day for Bananafish), but rather touches solely on his youthful years while starring on "It's A Wise Child." This book is worth the price alone due to the profound Taoist tale Seymour told Franny when she was a baby -- as well as Buddy's hilarious blowup at the insufferably annoying Matron of Honor.
"My atoms, moreover, are arranged to make me constitutionally inclined to believe that where there's smoke there's usually strawberry Jello, seldom fire." - Buddy
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4.0 out of 5 stars I want to be a Glass! March 24 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is the last of Salinger's books that I've read. I certainly liked it better than "9 Stories," which I just really, really couldn't get into, but it doesn't measure up to "Catcher in the Rye" and especially "Franny and Zooey."
Any shortcomings the book has rests with the "Seymour: An Introduction" half. This chapter takes forever to start, thanks to Buddy Glass' metafictional ponderings. These are somewhat interesting, but ultimately only weigh down what is already a story that's all characterization with no action.
Don't get me wrong: I like "Seymour," particularly once the narrator moves past his delight with his own intelligence. There just seems to be an awful lot of wasted words in that section.
"Raise High the Roof-Beam, Carpenters" is a much more straightforward story, instantly enjoyable and along the lines of "Franny."
Both stories contribute to the reader's understanding of the magnificent Glass family, and, in particular, the life and eventual death of Seymour. I still don't fully understand why he did what he did, though. That may be my problem, not Salinger's.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars See More of Seymour Glass . . . Even Though He Doesn't Appear
"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:... Read more
Published on March 26 2011 by Donald Mitchell
4.0 out of 5 stars Fly on the Glass Wall
In comparison to Salinger's other work, Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction slightly disappoints with its lackluster plot and overwrought... Read more
Published on Sept. 12 2009 by Saro
4.0 out of 5 stars My Second Review - Salinger again!
I think this is the first book Salinger wrote about the Glass Family. Seymour is the eldest and wisest member and he is like the most perfect older brother anyone could have. Read more
Published on July 10 2004 by Mr Stuart A Woolgar
4.0 out of 5 stars Question
Would someone please help me out in understanding something? Why, exactly did Seymour throw the rock at Charlotte because she "looked so beautiful"? Read more
Published on July 9 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Quickly. Quickly and Slowly
Truly, what a wonderful final publication for Salinger. While many might argue the point of Salinger's work being over-hyped, it is just that which makes ALL of Salinger's work... Read more
Published on Aug. 23 2003 by Helter Peal
4.0 out of 5 stars Better than, by all rights, it ought to be
This was my first exposure to Salinger, and I was suitably impressed.
"Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters" is a charming and sometimes poignant little anecdote... Read more
Published on April 12 2003 by William J. Tychonievich
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely my favorite book
No one that I've recommended Raise High the Roofbeam, Carpenters to has been disappointed. Really funny, interesting, and sad all at the same time. If you like J.D. Read more
Published on Nov. 3 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars Raise High the Roofbeam, Carpenters
I have reviewed Seymour: An Introduction previously. This review is to celebrate the story Raise High the Roofbeam, Carpenters. This story was published in 1955 in the New Yorker. Read more
Published on Aug. 4 2002 by Paul Miller
3.0 out of 5 stars Another look at the Glass family
While it took JD Salinger only one work, his immortal classic, The Catcher in the Rye, to thoroughly explore the trials and tribulations of young underachievers, the popular author... Read more
Published on July 25 2002 by P. Nicholas Keppler
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