Two long short stories first published in the "New Yorker" in the 1950s, "Raise High the Roof Beam", "Carpenters and Seymour: an Introduction" are each narrated by writer Buddy Glass, a character often said to be a portrait of the author himself. Both are stream of consciousness narratives, focusing on the life of Seymour, the eldest Glass brother and exploring the brothers' quest for enlightenment. In the first piece, Buddy has taken leave from the army during World War II to attend Seymour's wedding, the events occurring setting the scene for a tragedy to follow. In the second, Buddy reminisces about Seymour in an attempt to introduce this complex character properly to the reader.
J D Salinger was born in 1919. He grew up in New York City, and wrote short stories from an early age, but his breakthrough came in 1948 with the publication in The New Yorker of 'A Perfect Day for Bananafish'. The Catcher in the Rye was his first and only novel, published in 1951. It remains one of the most translated, taught and reprinted texts, and has sold some 65 million copies. It was followed by three other books of short stories and novellas, the most recent of which was published in 1963. He lives in Cornish, New Hampshire.