JD Salinger’s son has confirmed for the first time that the late author of The Catcher in the Rye wrote a significant amount of work that has never been seen, and that he and his father’s widow are “going as fast as we freaking can” to get it ready for publication.
Salinger died in 2010, leaving behind a small but perfectly formed body of published work that has not been added to since 1965’s New Yorker story, Hapworth 16, 1924. Rumours have circulated for years that the creator of one of the 20th century’s most enduring characters, Holden Caulfield, continued to write over the ensuing decades he spent in the New Hampshire village of Cornish, far from public view.
In an exclusive interview with the Guardian, his son Matt Salinger has finally revealed, definitively, that his father never stopped writing and that “all of what he wrote will at some point be shared”.
Matt Salinger told the Guardian his father “teemed with ideas and thoughts – 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.
“He just decided that the best thing for his writing was not to have a lot of interactions with people, literary types in particular,” he said. “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, an actor and producer, squashed reports that emerged in 2013 of five new books by his father, including one short story featuring Holden Caulfield and one based on Salinger’s brief marriage to Sylvia, a Nazi collaborator.
The reports stemmed from a documentary about the author, to which his closest family did not formally contribute; Matt Salinger described the rumours as “total trash” that “have little to no bearing on reality – anyone that understood my father at all would find the idea hysterically funny that he would write a book about his first brief marriage. It’s so far beyond the realm of plausibility.”