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26 December 2008 @ 11:04 pm
for i would change each hour like them  
Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters, by JD Salinger.

I am so going to end up writing fanfic about the Glass family, oh my god.

This is actually two stories - Carpenters, about Buddy's trip to Seymour's wedding, and Seymour: an Introduction, which is, astonishingly, about Seymour. I whipped through Carpenters, thoroughly enjoying myself, in one day. I endured a three-day purgatory with Seymour, guiltily sliding off the page to read something more in the Christmassy way (The Blue Castle and This Year It Will Be Different - which don't count because I've read them before). Carpenters is a straightfoward and excellent short story. I have no idea WHAT Seymour is, aside from highly indulgent. I don't know, and don't care to know, if the Glasses are based on Salinger's own family. The eulogy that is Seymour certainly seems to be about a real person, but what I came to appreciate is that, if it's NOT, then it's actually slightly brilliant. My conception of it being so is probably coloured by the fact that I've fallen in love with Salinger's prose and will do anything to absolve it. Yet all the while I was wishing he had edited and cleaned it up and given it a goddamn POINT for ease of reading, I had to justify it by saying that, painful as it was to read, it must have been an achievement to write. Or something.

She said she knew she was able to fly because when she came down she always had dust on her fingers from touching the light bulbs.

See? See? THIS is why I want to write fanfic about them. They're all basically amazing. Franny, ilu.

My voice must have sounded a trifle rented when I answered.


[...] and my special, only technically assigned cohort grinned up at me - for a moment, I rather thought he was going to slip his hand into mine.

I loved Buddy and the bride's father's uncle instant chummy camaraderie. And not even in a shippy way! Fancy that!

'Raise high the roof beam, carpenters. Like Ares comes the bridegroom, taller far than a tall man. Love, Irving Sappho, formerly under contract to Elysium Studios Ltd. Please be happy happy happy with your beautiful Muriel. This is an order. I outrank everybody on this block.'

I think I nearly cried here.

Yet a real artist, I've noticed, will survive anything. (Even praise, I happily suspect.)

My reaction to this can be succinctly and ever-so-intelligently summed up thus: :D

[...] but I think I'd give anything on earth to see you write something, an anything, a story, a poem, a tree, that was really and truly after your own heart.

Some of the best writing advice I'VE ever seen. I usually mock writers who go this deep into their own navels, but Seymour/Salinger really seemed to believe it. I'm a sucker for sincerity.

I've just rung for the port, and it will brought in at any moment by the old family retainer, an exceptionally intelligent, fat, sleek mouse, who eats everything in the house except examination papers.

His descriptions! I could just DROWN in them. They're like bathing in jelly.

Bessie used to take us down to De Pinna's, on Fifth Avenue, for our clothes. How she discovered that sedate and worthy establishment in the first place is anybody's guess. My brother Walt, who was a very elegant young man while he lived, used to feel that Bessie had simply gone up and asked a policeman.

Now this is hilarious, but he ruins it rather by qualifying the joke for a further paragraph and a half. Just leave it, JD. It has its own legs.

Previously, on Book Glomp 2008:
#1Middlemarch | #2Invisible Monsters | #3A Thousand Splendid Suns | #4Love in the Time of Cholera | #5Oscar and Lucinda | #6Kim | #7Breakfast at Tiffany's | #8Atonement | #9To the Lighthouse | #10On the Road | #11Brideshead Revisited | #12Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance | #13Bonjour Tristesse | #14A Passage to India | #15Three Men in a Boat | #16Vile Bodies | #17Prozac Nation | #18The Heart of the Matter | #19Jinx; #20Airhead | #21Doomsday Book | #22The Gum Thief | #23Choke | #24The Stone Gods | #25Beauty | #26Before They Are Hanged | #27The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation | #28Franny and Zooey | #29Girl in a Blue Dress | #30A Doll's House | #31Nation | #32City of Bones | #33Flashman