Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction

Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction

by J. D. Salinger

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Overview

The last book-length work of fiction by J. D. Salinger published in his lifetime collects two novellas about "one of the liveliest, funniest, most fully realized families in all fiction" (New York Times).

These two novellas, set seventeen years apart, are both concerned with Seymour Glass--the eldest son of J. D. Salinger's fictional Glass family--as recalled by his closest brother, Buddy.

"He was a great many things to a great many people while he lived, and virtually all things to his brothers and sisters in our somewhat outsized family. Surely he was all real things to us: our blue-striped unicorn, our double-lensed burning glass, our consultant genius, our portable conscience, our supercargo, and our one full poet..."

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316460019
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication date: 08/13/2019
Sold by: Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 160,584
File size: 595 KB

About the Author

J. D. Salinger was born in New York City on January 1, 1919, and died in Cornish, New Hampshire, on January 27, 2010. His stories appeared in many magazines, most notably The New Yorker. Between 1951 and 1963 he produced four book-length works of fiction: The Catcher in the Rye; Nine Stories; Franny and Zooey; and Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour--An Introduction. The books have been embraced and celebrated throughout the world and have been credited with instilling in many a lifelong love of reading.

Hometown:

Cornish, New Hampshire

Date of Birth:

January 1, 1919

Date of Death:

January 27, 2010

Place of Birth:

New York, New York

Place of Death:

Cornish, New Hampshire

Education:

Graduated from Valley Forge Military Academy, 1936; attended New York University, Ursinus College, Columbia University

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Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 33 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
To those who may not be aware, J.D. Salinger's Raise High the Roof Beam Carpenters and Seymour:an Introduction is the last of three books about the lives of the fictional Glass family living in New York City at the beginning of the 20th century. The other two books in the series are Nine Stories, and Franny and Zooey. The Nine Stories introduces the mem-bers of this large extended family, Franny and Zooey tells the lives of the Glass family's two youngest children and the Raise High (the book in question) tells of the older brother Seymour's planned wedding, his jilting of his bride and later elopement - the story is told in first-person narrative by his younger brother Buddy as is Seymour, an Introduction. The book is an absorbing and often touching chronicle of the lives of all the characters as they cope with their lives in ways both sucess- fully and often not, but you will not be bored. Some may be put off by the frequent salty language but even so it does not compare to what you hear in the media nowadays - in any case, this was Salinger's style and you do go with the flow as you continue reading. As alluded to above, this is the third book of a series, so for the nar- rative to make perfect chronological sense, you should start with Nine Stories, then Franny and Zooey and conclude with Raise High, etc. One can, I suppose read one and not the others, but a lot would be lost if you did so and really, the tale of this lovably eccentric famlly would simply not make sense. Do yourselves a favor - get all three (especially at these prices) and enjoy. P.S. I have left out a lot of details so as not to give anything away - why spoil the fun?
xicanti on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Two novellas that expand upon Salinger's popular Glass family. "Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters" deals with the day of Seymour's wedding, while "Seymour - An Introduction" is Buddy's stream-of-consciousness discussion of his dead brother.I adore Salinger's writing for many, many reasons, but my love rests most firmly on two basic elements: voice and style. His stories brim with both. They've got this wonderful elegance to them, even as they flirt with colloquial language and common speech patterns. He does some truly beautiful things with dialogue and internal monologue; however, I did find it difficult, on occasion, to really get inside Buddy's head. With another author, I would have found this intensely frustrating, but with Salinger it's all part of the game. Those brief, wonderful moments where Buddy's whole character just opens up are more than worth the moments of reticence and stylistic cover up.Thematically, I find Salinger's work fascinating in that so much of it deals with dead brothers. I have a particular - and, admittedly, strange - fascination with the dead little brother in literature. It's a surprisingly common theme, (don't believe me? Just think about it for a bit), and one that Salinger works with in The Catcher in the Rye. Here, however, he is concerned with something similar but entirely different - namely, the dead older brother. Though they deal with other things as well, all Salinger's Glass Family stories are influenced by Seymour's suicide. Anyone who's read Nine Stories or Franny and Zooey already knows what's happened and has seen some of the effects on the family. "Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters" instantly informs the uninitiated that Seymour has killed himself... then changes the game by rewinding and discussing an event in the past, when Seymour was very much alive. Though he himself makes no appearance in the story, we hear a great deal about him and cannot help but consider what we hear in light of his eventual death. The story is funny, emotional, and a true slice of human experience, but it becomes something potentially dark through our knowledge of Seymour's fate."Seymour - An Introduction" is much more raw. Salinger has pulled out all the stops this time around. We already know that Seymour has killed himself. Now we are invited to consider the effect his death has had on Buddy in a much more visceral way than was previously possible. Buddy tells us a great deal about Seymour without giving many concrete details. In fact, when he tries to give the reader anything substantial, he finds himself wandering off into tangents that illuminate his own character as much as Seymour's. It's a beautiful, engaging, and often frustrating look at literature, family, brotherhood and the self. There were moments when one of Salinger's images struck me so hard that I burst out laughing. There were moments when I thought I'd start sobbing wretchedly if I read another word. Like a previous reviewer, I feel that it adds a great deal to the wider Glass Family story... but I'm not sure I could return to it any time soon. I found it an emotionally draining read, but I wouldn't take it back for the world.I highly recommend Salinger, but I'm not sure that these stories are really the best place to start. If you're new to his work, having somehow managed to avoid The Catcher in the Rye in high school and afterwards, I'd say Nine Stories is probably the best place to start. Save this one for last. It's beautiful, but it is probably the least accessible of Salinger's works.
labrick on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed "raise hit the roof beam, carpenters" because, to me, it felt like the classic Salinger narrative that's present in "Catcher in the Rye" and "Franny and Zooey". It seemed nostalgic, and I found the characters interesting. "Seymour: an introduction" had an entirely different feel to it. It was more 'stream of consciousness' and the reader felt like a participant (often directly referred to as the subject of a rant). I would have rated this book higher if it were't for the rambling "Seymour: an introduction". I found it uninteresting and tangential. The narrative meanders for the entirety of the story and ends with an unsatisfying halt punctuated by the exit of the storyteller; in this case Buddy, Seymour's younger brother. I'm not sure I can point out anything specific that would make this story better. I just didn't like it.
bwdiederich on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Easily my favorite Salinger, Seymour in particular. Sad to lose him, the crazy bastard.
shawnd on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Roofbeams has to be Salinger's worst work, which might make it better than the bulk of American fiction writing from a technical perspective, but un-fulfilling when expectations are high. Another chapter in the Glass Family history, this almost exclusively features Seymour although he never makes an appearance. This, in itself, might doom itself but if not then it certainly doesn't help it avoid being a panegyric.In the first novella, the story takes place entirely on the day of Seymour's wedding. It is a very sad story, so much so that no plot ending could save the tragedy. A short tale written from the perspective of Seymour's younger brother Buddy Glass -- it is set so that almost any description would spoil the story -- and his sorry, pique almost churlish engagement with some members of the bride's family during the events that day.The second novella is a painfully long, slow slog through praise heaped upon praise for all three hundred sixty degrees of Seymour written by Buddy after Seymour's passing. It starts glacially slow, as if Salinger wants not to test us, but much more tortuously than that, wants to show how very slow writing could be if one wanted to evince it. It picks up pace consistently and when it ends it approaches real Salinger. Imagine a hero absolutely apologizing as he describes his brother, a Jesus-like superhero with off the charts ability to be amazing in any and every facet of life. Ten pages would be a teaser, twenty quite enough, but one hundred kills the soul.
pingdjip on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Het eerste verhaal met veel plezier gelezen, maar het tweede vond ik belachelijk saai. In het eerste verhaal gaat Buddy naar de bruiloft van zijn broer Seymour, die zelf niet komt opdagen. In een taxi hoort Buddy hoe negatief de vriendinnen van de bruid over Seymour denken. Maar Buddy's onuitgesproken gedachten geven een heel ander en veel positiever beeld van de bruidegom-to-be. Later, in zijn appartement, leest Buddy in Seymours dagboek. Zo krijgen we Seymour weer vanuit een andere hoek, namelijk zijn eigen woorden. We leren dat hij, anders dan de vriendinnen menen, eigenlijk meer houdt van de bruid dan andersom. Maar hij is wel cultureel streng voor haar: "I shouldn't have scared her out of her normal vocabulary." En hij doorziet de relatie van de bruid met haar moeder, wat psychologisch inzicht verraadt. Dat contrasteert met zowel de taxi-vriendinnen, de bruid als de bruid-moeder: zij zijn voortdurend bezig zijn om Seymour psychoanalytisch te pathologiseren, maar niet op een overtuigende manier. Seymour is vreemd, maar anders dan zij denken. Het verhaal heeft een mooie diepte door de verschillende invalshoeken. En dan is er ook nog spanning, omdat Buddy zich in de taxi in een uiterst genante positie bevindt, omdat hij aanvankelijk niet wil toegeven dat hij Seymours broer is, maar later wordt ontmaskerd. De stijl is verder lichtvoetig, onnadrukkelijk, precies, grappig, met de juiste afweging tussen distantie en gevoel. Maar dan het laatste verhaal. Buddy is nu een 40-jarige college teacher, en hij wringt zich in zijn appartement uit (lijdend, lijdend) om op papier te krijgen hoe Seymour als kind was. Het wordt een hagiografie, met Seymour als een soort van spirituele, altruïstische übermensch, een geboren zen-docent. En dan reflecteert Buddy ook nog overmatig op zichzelf, voortdurend bang dat hij iets opschrijft vanuit verkeerde, ijdele, motieven. Als deze dingen mondjesmaat als motieven in het verhaal geweven zouden zijn: prima; maar ze woekeren als onkruid. Bovendien worden de herinneringen aan Seymour niet meer dan een opsomming. Ergens geeft Buddy af op het Beginning Middle End procédé. Het is hem in dit "verhaal" goed gelukt om zich daar niks van aan te trekken.
nandadevi on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One of the advantages of an eighth-grade education - the real stand out in fact - is that I was never invited to read a book with an aim of understanding what it was about - or at least to do so to the satisfaction of some curriculum or teacher no matter how well intentioned. So I might be a bit of an oddity, coming to Salinger for the first time some forty years down the track, and particularly in taking him in the flank (as it were) having stumbled upon a copy of this particular book in an op-shop for the very persuasive price of two dollars.This is beautiful story telling. It is Bellow without the pity me, Donleavy without the labored wit, Joyce without the need to go to the moon and back, Nabokov without the darkness, Irving without the shallows. It doesn´t seem to me that this book needed to be any longer, or even that Salinger needed to write anything else. I get the sense that he cared less for the critics and customers than for the story, and once told that was, as they say, that. I wonder though, whether it would work as well - for me - if I had read this forty years ago. There a certain tiredness; jumbling together of memories reflections and feelings that resonates now as it would not have done then. Worth the wait.
cinesnail88 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
My final book is the last JD Salinger I've been meaning to read in order to have completed all his published works. It was The Glass Family, so of course I loved it, however,Seymour dragged on terribly at parts and Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenter only barely made up for Seymour's shortcomings. Salinger remains, in my mind, an author remembered for the wrong work. His Glass Family works far outshine the Caulfields. Only an opinion of course.
xtien on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Part one, the roof beam, is kind of in the same style as the Catcher in the Rye. Well written, good, fun, emotional. The second part, "Seymour, an Introduction", is very different. It's like an introduction to a book of poetry by Seymour, the elder brother of the "first person" in the book, that didn't get published nor ever will get published. Somehow you get the idea that it's autobiography, but I don't think it is, at least not all of it. This second part of the book is hard to read, by times, because of the length and complexity of the sentences - which always end up correctly - and partly because of the words Salinger is using. I needed a dictionary a couple of times. Still, I liked it very much. Almost as much as Catcher in the Rye.
the_terrible_trivium on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Two more stories of the Glass family. The first is good, standard Salinger. The second is Salinger jumping down a rabbit's hole of elliptical and digressive prose that's charming at first but quickly wears and never gets anywhere. Seymour is introduced but we avoid looking him in the eyes. Not the place to start.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Don't give up on this book too quick.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent book. I was not a reader; however, when I began to read because of this book. It is fascinating how a writer can capture his imagination and transfer it to such an immense story! I must warn you, this is not a book for people who do not read between the lines, in other words not to offend anyone if you are not as thoughtful as some of us do not bother to buy it you will simply get bored. This is a book for the intellectuals, if there are any left. (not to be taken harshly) Other than that J.D. hits home with this book!
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