Sunday Times article

Scottie Bowman (
Sun, 21 Mar 1999 17:02:13 +0000

    The following appeared in this morning's 
    Sunday Times (London).  It seems to be 
    in preparation for the television programme 
    on Tuesday evening.

    I've copied this from the Sunday Times web page.
    And, of course, take no responsibility for any 
    righteous indignation aroused in the hearts of 
    loyal minions.

    Scottie B.

    J D Salinger 'has 15 new books in safe' 
    by Richard Brooks 
    Arts Editor 
    J D SALINGER, one of the world's most influential and 
    reclusive authors, has written at least 15 books since his last 
    work was published more than 30 years ago, according to 
    friends. He is keeping them in a huge vault at his home. 
    The American author of The Catcher in the Rye has shunned 
    the public eye since the mid-1960s and has not published 
    a word since a book of short stories in 1965. His second 
    and last published novel, Franny and Zooey, appeared in 1961. 

    However, friends and visitors to his home have revealed that 
    his house in New Hampshire has a large safe containing 
    numerous finished manuscripts. It is thought they all feature 
    the Glass family, about whom Salinger first wrote in 
    Franny and Zooey. 

    Speaking for the first time, three people, all of whom have 
    been inside Salinger's house in the small town of Cornish, 
    describe "the other books". 

    Jerry Burt, a neighbour, talks of "a huge bank safe" in the house. 
    "I was in the room when it was open," says Burt. "That's 
    where he kept his manuscripts. He told me there were about 
    15 or 16 books finished but that he didn't know if they 
    would be published." 

    Barry Brown, who was 12 when he befriended Salinger, 
    speaks of "Jerry [Salinger] hiding all his work in a huge 
    locked safe. Doesn't it speak to his psyche?" 

    Another friend, Jonathan Schwarz, tells how his girlfriend, 
    Susan, spent the night at Salinger's house after pretending 
    that her car had broken down. After eating a meal of his staple 
    diet, nuts and peas, she too saw the safe and the books. 

    Greg Herriges, one of a band of Salinger pilgrims who visits 
    Cornish regularly, describes on BBC2's Close Up arts programme, 
    to be broadcast on Tuesday, how he snatched a brief 
    conversation with the elusive author. Salinger told him: 
    "I work every day. I'm still writing, but it cannot be rushed. 
    It is contact with the public which hinders my writing." 

    Salinger has been an enigmatic figure since he first shot to fame 
    in 1951 with The Catcher in the Rye, the story of 
    the disillusioned teenager Holden Caulfield, which 
    has become a standard school text. 

    Although Salinger wrote regularly in magazines such as 
    the New Yorker in the 1950s and early 1960s and 
    brought out two other anthologies of short stories, 
    it had been assumed that he had dried up. 

    Further evidence that Salinger has written many books 
    comes from Ian Hamilton, the poet and writer, who 
    was thwarted from writing a biography of Salinger 
    in 1986 after the author initiated legal action. 

    "I'm pretty sure Salinger has been continuing with 
    the Glass saga ever since," Hamilton told The Sunday Times. 

    According to Joyce Maynard, who wrote her memoirs 
    At Home in the World last year, which included chapters 
    on her 12 months living with the author as 
    an 18-year-old in the early 1970s, Salinger had 
    written "a couple" more books about the Glass family 
    by then. 

    Phyllis Westbery, Salinger's agent at Harold Ober 
    Associates in New York, would not comment on 
    whether there were any unpublished books. However, 
    Westbery did say that she spoke to Salinger on a 
    "very regular basis" about what he was doing. 

    To those who have seen him, Salinger comes across 
    as a person who has for most of his adult life been 
    emotionally stuck in his late teens. Nearly all his published 
    writings are about young people. 

    Salinger, who is 80, does not seem to have had 
    an obviously unhappy childhood. He is described 
    by friends who knew him at the time as 
    "confident and even swaggering". But when he was 
    25 he seems to have had a nervous breakdown 
    while serving in the US army at the end of 
    the second world war in Europe. 

    He was also bitterly hurt when his girlfriend, 
    Oona O'Neill, who was then only 16, left him 
    for Charlie Chaplin. He was later upset 
    professionally by a review by Mary McCarthy 
    of Franny and Zooey. "I think it was that which 
    led to his withdrawal," said Hamilton. 

    Throughout his life Salinger has befriended 
    women younger - often much younger - than himself. 
    He married Claire Douglas, aged 19, when he was 35 
    in 1954. They had two children and then divorced 
    in 1967. 

    For the past 20 years he has lived with a woman called 
    Colleen O'Neill. 

    Salinger leads an ascetic life. He calls himself 
    a "failed Zen Buddhist", walks about in a blue mechanic's 
    uniform and, when he does go to local restaurants, 
    eats in the kitchen to avoid people. 

    If Salinger has written all these other books, 
    what will happen to them after his death? 
    Maynard and Hamilton believe the author has decided. 
    They could be destroyed or they could be published 
    as the most fascinating posthumous collection.