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“He wanted me to pull it together. Because of the scope of the job, he knew it would take a long time. This was somebody who was writing for 50 years without publishing, so there is a lot of material. There is no reluctance or protectiveness. It’s a matter of when it is ready, we shall share it,” he said. This will take some years, he admitted, though he hopes less than a decade: “Readers should know we are going as fast as we freaking can … I feel the pressure to get this done far more than he did.” The unseen writing, Matt Salinger said, “I think it will be tremendously well received and people will be affected in the way every reader hopes to be affected when they open a book. Not changed, necessarily, but something rubs off that can lead to change.” “My father said, everything he has to say is in his fiction, believe it, it’s there. I think when more of his writing is made accessible, he covers everything the discerning reader would care about. My job is to help it happen as soon as I can, and then stay well out of the way,” he said. Matt has also worked against the republication of several early stories by his father. Stories JD Salinger himself said would be ‘unfair’ to publish. “Suppose you had a coat you liked and somebody went into your closet and stole it. That’s how I feel,” the author told the New York Times in 1974, following the publication of two volumes of his uncollected works.

Matt Salinger described them as ‘youthful exercises, part of his process, his development as an artist’. “I don’t do it lightly, it’s no fun,” he said of blocking publication. “I do it because my father would have done it and out of love for him, and out of love and protectiveness for his work and his books.”

Profile for ElectricPress

Electric Press - literary insights magazine. May 2019 edition.