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

ISBN: 0316766941

ISBN13: 9780316766944

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

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Format: Paperback

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Book Overview

"Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters" and "Seymour" are now reissued in a trade paper edition.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Salinger's best work.

Commonly mislabeled the worst of the Glass family saga, and of J.D. Salinger's work in general, Raise High the Roofbeam Carpenters, and Seymour, an Introduction, deserves much praise. Salinger takes a lot of care and thought in writing these two short stories. Raise High the Roofbeam, Carpenters features Buddy Glass attending his brother, Seymour's wedding. Seymour never physically appears in this story, but Buddy narrates so much about him that he is very much a main character. Seymour, an Introduction is a more difficult read. What at first appears incessant ramblings of a grief stricken sibling, at second glance becomes a well crafted work of genuis. Every word is carefully placed, to describle Seymour, Buddy's relationship with Seymour, and Seymour's impact on everyone he met. While getting through the second story, may be difficult it is a worthwhile challenge. You will learn everything about Seymour, from the way he wrote poetry, to the way he shot his marbles, and from Seymour you will learn an entirely new way to view the world, and everyone in it. -PRBecki

Sadly misunderstood

I was recently paging through a new book by Nick Hornby (High Fidelity, About a Boy) where he offhandedly comments on various works of literature he has been reading-- it seemed like a clever idea, and I was bored. Apparently, Mr. Hornby read through the entire work of Salinger in a week. Though he was largely satisfied with Salinger's collection of stories, he complained that these last two entries in the Glass Family Saga (which I am reviewing here) were tedious. Hornby noted that he wasn't very interested in the character of Seymour, and he especially didn't care about how Seymour shot his marbles. Well, I'm afraid that if you've read any of the Glass family stories and don't care much for Seymour, then you had better avoid this two story collection. Salinger's work (including Catcher) is permeated with the loss of a brother who meant the world to his siblings. Every crease and crevice of his face was meaningful, every sigh and utterance. The way Seymour shot his marbles as a boy DOES have relevance, because his philosophy of not aiming (a variation on the Zen practice of archery) is one of the central themes of the stories. Thus, if the appearance of aimlessness bothers you (the narrator of these two stories, Buddy, is a strong adherent-- so watch out), then you might want to stick to more conventional fiction. I found the entire five story cycle to be the one of most profound pieces of work I have ever come across, but then again-- Seymour isn't for everyone.

Different but not bad -- just different

Definitely "Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction" is not J. D. Salinger's most popular and most read work. People who read this book are die-hard fans of this writer and really like the Glass family and are interested in knowing more about them. Those who want to read only one or two Salinger books should stick to "The Catcher in The Rye" and either "Franny and Zooey" or "Nine Stories". To begin with "Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction" is not an easy book. Its rhythm is like a roller coaster, sometimes fast, sometimes slow, sometimes up, sometimes down -- but always difficult and inaccessible to those who are not familiar with the Glass's mythology and history. Even Salinger habitués may find some difficult in reading this work. "Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters" tells the story of Seymour's wedding. But, the main character here and narrator is Buddy Glass, the groom's brother, who is the only member of the family to attend the ceremony. All the narrative deals with the fact that Seymour abandon's his bride in the church and doesn't show up. Buddy is forced to deal whit the situation. He is forced to be with some guests, who happen to be bride's relative. And most of the time he pretends not to be Seymour's brother. Like most Salinger's work, the most important thing in the narrative is the character's thoughts rather than his actions, words etc. While considering this event, Buddy recreates most of his family's history. And this is a valuable account to those are interested in learn more about the Glasses. So far, sort of a typical Salinger writing. The second part "Seymour: An Introduction" is more difficult and problematic to those readers. First thing is that is not an introduction -- at least not our typical introduction. First off, because the reader is already familiar with Seymour, from "Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters", or from "A Perfect Day the Bananafish" (from "Nine Stories", which happens to be paradoxical, since the short story tells an event that happens later on in the character's life). Buddy who describes his older brother -- who he happens to admire-- again narrates the story. The narrative this time round is like a labyrinth rather than a roller coaster. The images are formed without a correlation, the narrator jumps from topic to topic making the understanding of his words rather difficult. Those who are interested in only one Seymour story should go straight to "A Perfect day for Bananafish". It is short, but you'll learn a lot about the character -- actually almost everything you need to know is there. Those who like Salinger and his Glass family, are welcome to read "Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction", but be advised that it is different (not bad, just different) from what you've read from him, about them.


Just what it is about Salinger I don't know, but I was captivated from the first time I read Franny and Zooey. Maybe it's the down to earthness of the dialogue, the kookiness of the characters. Maybe it's the way he says things worth saying without being too lofty or literary, or maybe it's the way that you feel part of his world, get into the heads of the characters. Whatever it is it's good, and too complicated to define easily, which makes it better. Buy this book and all the books. The Glass family can be your friends too.

Sublime and beautiful

Both stories are incredible, in different ways. "Raise High..." is a beautiful glimpse into both Buddy and Seymour (the diary entry about his scars was incredible). And "Seymour" It is so original, funny, but poignant at the same time ("John Keats, please put you scarf on"). I don't dare compare these to any of his other works because I wouldn't discourage anyone form reading other Salinger works. They are all wonderful. He is by far the best writer of our time.
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