New releases set to shed light on reclusive author J.D. Salinger
A series of posthumous books are planned, along with a biography of the reclusive author
The authors of a new J.D. Salinger biography are claiming they have cracked one of publishing's greatest mysteries: What The Catcher in the Rye novelist was working on during the last half century of his life.
Between 2015 and 2020, a series of posthumous Salinger releases are planned, according to Salinger, written by David Shields and Shane Salerno and due to be published on September 3.
Providing by far the most detailed report of previously unreleased material, the book's authors cite "two independent and separate sources" who they say have "documented and verified" the information. One of the Salinger books would centre on Catcher protagonist Holden Caulfield and his family, including a revised version of an early, unpublished story The Last and Best of the Peter Pans. Other volumes would draw on Salinger's second world war years and his immersion in Eastern religion.
A publication called The Family Glass would feature additional stories about the Glass family of Franny and Zooey and other Salinger works.
Salinger does not identify a prospective publisher. Little, Brown and Company, which released Salinger's other books, declined to comment. Salinger's son, Matt Salinger, who helps run the author's literary estate, was not available for comment.
No Salinger book came out after the early 1960s, as the author increasingly withdrew from public life.
Over the past 50 years, there has been endless and conflicting speculation over what Salinger had been doing during his self-imposed retirement. That Salinger continued to write is well documented. He told The New York Times in 1974 that he wrote daily, though only for himself.
"There is a marvellous peace in not publishing," he said at the time.
But there is no consensus on what he was writing and no physical evidence of what Salinger had reportedly stashed in a safe in his home in Cornish, New Hampshire. The Salinger estate, run partly by Matt Salinger and Salinger's widow, Colleen O'Neill, has remained silent on the subject since the author's death at the age of 91 in January 2010. The two did not co-operate with Salerno and Shields.
Salerno is a Hollywood screenwriter, while Shields is an award-winning author.
Nine years in the making and thoroughly documented, their 700-page Salinger biography features many rare photographs and letters, and unprecedented detail about the author's war years and brief first marriage.
He is portrayed as deeply traumatised by his war experiences and stunned by his post- Catcher fame. But he also comes off as far less reclusive than long believed.
Salinger never authorised a biography, but several unauthorised books have come out over the past 30 years.