Salinger’s pri­vate war

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - TELEVISION - – HIL­LEL ITALIE

A NEW JD Salinger film and bi­og­ra­phy are be­ing billed as an un­prece­dented look into the mys­te­ri­ous life of the au­thor of The Catcher In the Rye. Simon & Schus­ter has ac­quired The Pri­vate War of JD Salinger, an oral bi­og­ra­phy com­piled by au­thor David Shields and film maker-screen writer Shane Salerno, whose screen­play cred­its in­clude the Oliver Stone film Sav­ages. Salinger’s own books were pub­lished by Lit­tle, Brown and Co. Salerno has been work­ing for sev­eral years on his doc­u­men­tary, which US net­work PBS will air next Jan­uary for the 200th edi­tion of its Amer­i­can Masters se­ries. The book and film draw upon in­ter­views with more than 150 sources who ei­ther worked di­rectly with au­thor JD Salinger, had a per­sonal re­la­tion­ship with him, or were in­flu­enced by his work. Salinger’s long­time lit­er­ary agent, Phyl­lis West­berg de­clined to com­ment. The Simon & Schus­ter an­nounce­ment does not say whether the ul­ti­mate Salinger ques­tion is an­swered: Did he leave be­hind any un­pub­lished manuscripts? Vir­tu­ally noth­ing new has been learned about the no­to­ri­ously pub­lic­ity-shy au­thor since he died, aged 91, in New Hamp­shire in 2010. No au­tho­rised bi­og­ra­phy has ap­peared. ‘‘The myth that peo­ple have read about and be­lieved for 60 years about JD Salinger is one of some­one too pure to pub­lish, too sen­si­tive to be touched. We re­place the myth of Salinger with an ex­traor­di­nar­ily com­plex, deeply con­tra­dic­tory hu­man be­ing,’’ says Salerno. ‘‘Our book of­fers a com­plete reval­u­a­tion and rein­ter­pre­ta­tion of the work and the life. The film and book are an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the cost of art and the cost of war.’’ Se­nior ed­i­tor Jofie Fer­rari-Adler adds: Through the prism of Salinger’s life and his war ex­pe­ri­ence . . . it’s a per­sonal his­tory of the 20th cen­tury.’’

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