Never-before-seen writing by The Catcher in the Rye author J.D. Salinger will be shared with the public in the future, his son told a British newspaper.
“This was somebody who was writing for 50 years without publishing, so that’s a lot of material,” Matt Salinger said. Most of the content was kept out of the public eye because of Salinger’s particular quirks.
J.D. Salinger published very little in his lifetime. Overwhelmed by the public attention after the success of his novel The Catcher in the Rye, Salinger became reclusive. His last published work was a novella that appeared in The New Yorker in 1965, and his last public interview was in 1980. He engaged in several legal battles with those chronicling his life, including his biographer Ian Hamilton, former lover and author Joyce Maynard, and his daughter, Margaret.
In November 2013, three unpublished stories by Salinger were briefly posted online. One of the stories, The Ocean Full of Bowling Balls, was said to be a prequel to The Catcher in the Rye.
Salinger, although said to be a huge movie fan, refused to license the rights to The Catcher In The Rye for adaptation into a film. Matt Salinger did not say whether the family had changed its mind in that regard.
“He just decided that the best thing for his writing was not to have a lot of interactions with people, literary types in particular,” Matt Salinger told the Guardian. “He didn’t want to be playing in those poker games, he wanted to, as he would encourage every would-be writer to do, you know, stew in your own juices.”
Matt Salinger didn’t say what the new works were about. “He’d be driving the car and he’d pull over to write something and laugh to himself — sometimes he’d read it to me, sometimes he wouldn’t — and next to every chair he had a notebook,” Matt Salinger said, adding that the writings have “no linear evolution.”
“It becomes clear that he was after different game,” he said. “[The writings] will definitely disappoint people that he wouldn’t care about, but for real readers … I think it will be tremendously well received by those people and they will be affected in the way every reader hopes to be affected when they open a book. Not changed, necessarily, but something rubs off that can lead to change.”
Matt Salinger and J.D. Salinger’s widow, Colleen O’Neill, have been holding the material since J.D. Salinger’s death in 2010. “When my father said that everything he has to say is in his fiction, believe it — it’s there,” Matt Salinger said. “I think when more of his writing is made accessible, he covers everything that the discerning reader would care about.”