Claim to Non-Fame
I was referenced without being named in a New York Times piece earlier this week.
Matthew Haag, a Brother of the Double-A, wrote an article entitled “So Where Are the New J. D. Salinger Books We Were Promised?” which is my question these days, too. In the disappointing 2013 Shane Salerno doc “Salinger,” and in articles surrounding that doc, we were told, starting in 2015, we would begin to see the following stories Salinger supposedly wrote but never published after 1965:
- “A Counterintelligence Agent’s Diary,” a novella, most likely based on Salinger's work during World War II
- “A World War II Love Story,” most likely based on his short, odd marriage to Sylvia Welter just after the war
- “The Complete Chronicle of the Glass Family,” featuring five new stories about Seymour Glass
- “The Last and Best of the Peter Pans,” about Holden Caulfield
- A religious manual on Hinduism
Well, here we are, nearly in 2018, and where are they?
Haag doesn't really answer that question, just gives us the back-and-forth between Salerno, who says they're still coming, and J.D.'s son (and one-time Captain America) Matthew, who is terse and opaque. Haag also gives us this:
[Salinger's] last published work, “Hapworth 16, 1924,” appeared in The New Yorker in June 1965, but Mr. Salinger decided in the mid-1990s to release it as a novella. He chose a small publishing company, Orchises Press, and demanded that the distribution be limited, that bookstores could not discount the price and that his name not be included on the cover.
But shortly before the work's release, a reporter uncovered details about it in a Library of Congress catalog, and the story spread. Afterward, Mr. Salinger never called Orchises Press to finalize the publication and it was never released, Roger Lathbury, the company's owner, recounted in New York magazine after the author's death.
That's me. I'm “a reporter.”
Actually “a reporter” is kind of an amalgamation of my sister and myself. I found “Hapworth” on amazon.com's site, back when amazon was less than a year old and got its book list in part from the Library of Congress, wrote about it in a small piece on Jeff Bezos for The Seattle Times, told my sister about it, she did the heavy lifting. It's our claim to non-fame. It's a little sad all around. If I hadn't been such a fan, I wouldn't have known “Hapworth” was anything and publication would've continued apace. But I was so it didn't.