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Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction (1963)

by J. D. Salinger

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Glass Family (3)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
6,060581,648 (3.99)1 / 87
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..."… (more)
  1. 10
    Hapworth 16, 1924 by J. D. Salinger (girlunderglass)
    girlunderglass: You'll know Seymour even better in this short story.
  2. 00
    Franny and Zooey by J. D. Salinger (kxlly)
  3. 00
    Sappho: A New Translation by Sappho (aulsmith)
  4. 00
    All The Answers by Michael Kupperman (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: Quiz kids
  5. 00
    Whatever Happened to the Quiz Kids? Perils and Profits of Growing Up Gifted by Ruth Duskin Feldman (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: Quiz kids
  6. 01
    Normal Family by Don Trowden (Publerati)
    Publerati: The famous family Salinger created is reminiscent of the Pendergast family we meet within Normal Family.
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Group TopicMessagesLast Message 
 Author Theme Reads: Looking ahead to Salinger7 unread / 7edwinbcn, December 2013

» See also 87 mentions

English (56)  Dutch (1)  All languages (57)
Showing 1-5 of 56 (next | show all)
First story great. Second story: wtf! ( )
  adrianburke | Dec 7, 2022 |
Two stories. The first (Roofbeams) struck me as a masterclass in narrative and characterization. An extended interaction between a small set of people, it's almost impossibly vivid; it reminds me of Raymond Carver, without the minimalism. What actually happens is not so important (although a mystery is solved by the end). It's the kind of story I want to read again just to study the technique. Needless to say, I also enjoyed it immensely as a scene.

The second (Seymour), by contrast, seemed pointless and self-indulgent. Nothing important is revealed, and the narrator's (apparently) amphetamine-fueled, self-conscious logorrhea is irritating and then exhausting. It's all too typical for the writer/narrator to interrupt a sentence with an extended parenthetical aside about what led him to write the sentence and how he feels about the sentence and why he's going to write the sentence despite his misgivings about how it might be interpreted. This gets old in a hurry. I found it a struggle to get through.

If it weren't too pat an assumption based on too little data, I'd say Salinger had run out of gas ("Seymour" was his last published story before "Hapworth 16, 1924," which by most accounts was even worse). If the Salinger heirs ever get over their own neuroses and publish the last several decades of their father's work, we might get to test that out. But I'm not holding my breath. ( )
  john.cooper | Jul 7, 2022 |
Lectura entretenguda, estil original. La traducció del primer relat, d'Antoni Pigrau, seria molt bona si no fos per l'ús exageradíssim d'adjectius possessius innecessaris. La traducció del segon relat, de Manuel de Pedrolo, és millor. ( )
  vturiserra | Nov 29, 2021 |
Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters: Seymour, an Introduction by J.D. Salinger (1994)
  arosoff | Jul 10, 2021 |
Salinger at his best (Raise High the Roofbeam, Carpenters) and worst (Seymour: An Introduction). ( )
  francoisvigneault | May 17, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 56 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (42 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
J. D. Salingerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Böll, AnnemarieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Böll, HeinrichTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cerrone Romano CarloTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pedrolo, Manuel deTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pigrau i Rodríguez, AntoniTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schönfeld, EikeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
The actors by their presence always convince me, to my horror, that most of what I've written about them until now is false. It is false because I write about them with steadfast love (even now, while I write it down, this, too, becomes false) but varying ability, and this varying ability does not hit off the real actors loudly and correctly but loses itself dully in this love that will never be satisfied with the ability and therefore thinks it is protecting the actors by preventing this ability from exercising itself.
It is (to describe it figuratively) as if an author were to make a slip of the pen, and as if this clerical error became conscious of being such. Perhaps this was no error but in a far higher sense was an essential part of the whole exposition. It is, then, as if this clerical error were to revolt against the author, out of hatred for Iron, were to forbid him to correct it, and were to say, 'No, I will not be erased, I will stand as a witness against thee, that thou art a very poor writer.'
Dedication
If there is an amateur reader still left in the world - or anybody who just reads and runs - I ask him or her, with untellable affection and gratitude, to split the dedication of this book four ways with my wife and children.
First words
One night some twenty years ago, during a siege of mumps in our enormous family, my youngest sister, Franny, was moved, crib and all, into the ostensibly germ-free room I shared with my eldest brother, Seymour.
At times, frankly, I find it pretty slim pickings, but at the age of forty I look on my old fair-weather friend the general reader as my last deeply contemporary confidant, and I was rather strenuously requested, long before I was out of my teens, by at once the most exciting and the least fundamentally bumptious public craftsman I've ever personally known, to try to keep a steady and sober regard for the amenities of such a relationship, be it ever so peculiar or terrible; in my case, he saw it coming on from the first.
Quotations
Raise high the roof beam, carpenters. Like Ares comes the bridegroom, taller far than a tall man.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
This LT work is only for Salinger's 1963 publication of two novellas together, Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction. LT has separate works for each novella individually, "Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters" (1955) and "Seymour: An Introduction" (1959). Please do not combine either individual novella with this work. Thank you.
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Wikipedia in English (1)

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..."

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