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Sunday, August 25, 2013

New Film and Book Reveal Salinger Secrets, They Say

Sunday Update #2  NYT has obtained a copy of the Salinger book and just reviewed by Kakutani.  She calls it a bit slapdash, confirm earlier reports on the plans to publish new books by him (see below) and adds:  'The sharp-edged portrait of Salinger that Mr. Shields and Mr. Salerno draw in this book is that of a writer whose 'life was a slow-motion suicide mission' — a man who never recovered from the horrors of wartime combat and the soul-shaking sight of a Nazi death camp filled with burned and smoldering corpses."

Thanks partly to religion the authors says he ended up as a "blinkered and condescending curmudgeon who is frequently guilty of the same sort of phoniness or hypocrisy his characters so deplored."  You have to wonder about their claim that he stayed out of the media glare because he was allegedly born with one testicle....Shields is author of recent Kurt Vonnegut bio.  My new Vonnegut ebook here.

Sunday:  NYT just up with story revealing secrets from the film and book (co-authored by David Shields.  There are new Salinger books coming, as instructed, starting in 2015, they claim.  They also reveal, among other things, details about his first wife (German woman he sent back home after learning she may have helped Gestapo) and affair with teen (dumped her after sleeping with her once, allegedly).  And more.

Earlier: Great mysteries surrounded J.D. Salinger after he semi-disappeared, back in the mid-1960s, and then in the past year, re: an upcoming documentary about him, the first of its kind.   What exactly did the film-makers discover?  Secrecy has been the key.  I know this terrain well, as a Salinger reader back in the '60s, then as an editor at Crawdaddy in the '70s when we assigned the ritual "find Salinger" cover story (more about that in my upcoming memoir).  Anyway: I happened to see the trailer for the film last night and here it is.   Also: Speaking of novelists popular with young people, my new ebook on Kurt Vonnegut.

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