Thursday, July 29, 2010

Screenwriter Shane Salerno and J. D. Salinger Documentary and Biography

The mysterious best-selling novelist, J. D. Salinger died recently, and the announcement of his death brought to our attention again the reclusive nature of the author. The novel, The Catcher in the Rye, was published in 1951, not only to rave reviews, but to criticism and censorship in high schools and libraries. Challenges mainly ranged from the use of profanity, and those famous (and overused) words, Family Values, but the strength of the writing and the brilliance of the story overcame the adversity and it is considered a classic and one of the top novels of the 20th century. As far as it is known at this time, Salinger apparently never wrote another book, and only had a few published short stories. (That is, unless an unpublished manuscript or manuscripts show up in what the author left behind).

Apparently screenwriter, Shane Salerno is one who was enthralled by the book and its author, as he spent nearly six years and his own financing, researching, interviewing, and working on his two hour documentary, Salinger. When news of this documentary came out shortly after Salinger’s death January 27, 2010, it was rumored that the documentary could have a short interview with Salinger himself.

In this new Newsweek article today, Shane Salerno is quoted about the 800-page biography, The Private War of J. D. Salinger, co-written with David Shields: “will substantially rewrite the record of J. D. Salinger’s life, and correct many inaccurate stories that have been told for decades.”

Salerno apparently has amassed 15,000 pages of interview transcripts with Salinger intimates, former colleagues, and more than 100 personal photographs, (one in the Newsweek article) and is quoted by Newsweek to say, “We’ve been sifting through all this new material to contextualize this giant of American literature. You’re going to see a very different Salinger than you’ve read about for five decades.”

It may be interesting to discover that Salinger was not really a recluse at all, but for the most part just disappeared from the world of literature and lived a quite and lonely life for the last sixty years. He was 91 when he died.

What do you think?

Maybe we’ll have our answers soon when determined biographer, researcher, screenwriter, and producer, Shane Salerno releases his two-hour documentary, Salinger, and the biography, The Private War of J. D. Salinger hits the bookshelves.

Hopefully we’ll learn something about the mysterious author who penned this controversial coming of age novel. I look forward to it.

~ Linda

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