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 ...
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.
Does literature hold any greater treasure than the Glass family for readers seeking psychological candor? It is difficult to imagine. The allure of Franny, Buddy, Zooey, and Seymour can be so powerful that the page seems hardly sturdy enough to hold up the dialog. Salinger, whose secretive late-stages of writing promise much more on the Glasses, has developed his family portrait across many books and short stories. This one introduces Seymour on his wedding day, through the eyes of his brother. The writing is luminous, unfolded in real time, and its substance is unalloyed: characters fighting to reconcile their feelings and their obligations to the external world. It is incumbent upon all readers of post-war American literature to acquaint themselves fully with the Glass family, now omitting more obscure but essential components like "Hapworth 16, 1924". This book, along with "Franny & Zooey", is a good point of entry.
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