Perhaps the greatest literary mystery of the past half-century was the famously guarded life of J.D. Salinger, the author who redefined high school syllabuses forever, then 14 years later disappeared to his compound in Cornish, N.H. “There is a marvelous peace in not publishing,” he told the New York Times in 1974. After his death in 2010, the burning question remained: When he wasn’t flashing displeasure at probing photographers and curious fans, what did Salinger do during the last 45 years of his life?
According to Salinger, a new documentary produced by the Weinstein Co., and a corresponding 700-page book of the same title by the film’s director, Shane Salerno, and co-author David Shields, he spent at least some of that time at a typewriter. The new investigation into the author’s life claims that Salinger left behind explicit instructions to his estate to publish five books beginning in 2015. The New York Times reported that Salinger’s new works include: a “story-filled ‘manual’ of the Vedanta religious philosophy”; a book called The Family Glass, with five never-before-seen stories; another collection of stories called The Last and Best of the Peter Pans, which will revisit the Caulfield family from The Catcher in the Rye; a novella based on Salinger’s years as a soldier in World War II; and a new novel set during the same period about the author’s first marriage.