Friday, April 24, 2015

5 New JD Salinger Books?

A few years ago The New York Times claimed that five new JD Salinger novels were on their way beginning in 2015. We've heard about the new Harper Lee novel but where are these Salinger novels? No one I've talked to in the book business has any idea. Why were they supposed to start appearing in 2015? Well this will be five years after Salinger's death so presumably that was a stipulation of the old boy's will, whose faithful executor is his son Matt, but like I say no one has heard of a publication date or has even seen a hint of an ARC. If you have seen an ARC or heard a rumour please let me know...
...
What are the five new Salinger novels about? Well the Times really has no idea but apparently two anonymous sources have revealed to Shane Salerno (the director of a fascinating 2013 biographical film 
a rare photo of Staff Sergeant Salinger
about Salinger's life) some intriguing details. One of the books is going to be "a story-filled manual of Vedanta religious philosophy, with which Mr. Salinger was deeply involved with" which doesn't, admittedly, sound so terrific. Another book is going to contain several new stories about the Glass family who have already featured in Nine Stories, Franny and Zooey and Raise High The Roof Beams & Seymour An Introduction. For those of you who, like me, struggled to say awake through the latter book this will not be particularly welcome news either. But it's not all doom and gloom: apparently there's also a novel or a collection of stories set in Holden Caulfield's extended family which is quite exciting to me because they really are an interesting bunch: Holden, DB, Phoebe and even poor Allie were all smart, introspective and funny writers. Another Caulfield family book? Maybe even a sequel to Catcher in the Rye? Ok I can handle that. 
...
But the bit of the Times story that made me choke on my cornflakes was the news that Salinger has written not one but two World War 2 novels. JD Salinger, as I've blogged about before here, had a very interesting war...He was in the Counterintelligence Corps and participated in D Day, the Normandy campaign, the liberation of at least one concentration camp and he also fought in the notorious Battle of Hurtgen Forest. In another well known incident JD Salinger and Ernest Hemingway together "helped liberate" the bar of the Ritz Hotel in Paris. Even a mediocre writer could make a good book out of that material and Salinger, well...