I was J.D. Salinger’s target audience when I was 14: angsty, bookish, and looking for something that spoke to my general dislike of most people and things. Not that Salinger cared; he was somewhere on the East Coast hiding out from the public. But similar to what I’m guessing are a few thousand kids like me, reading The Catcher in the Rye had a profound impact on my life at a time when I was desperately looking for something to associate with, and eventually I read everything by him that I could.
To echo another person whose work would have a similar impact on me around that same time, Poly Styrene of the band X-Ray Spex, I know “I’m a cliche.” The whole “Salinger changed my life,” mantra has been chanted for decades, and even though some suspected that it is dying out, I’m willing to bet that the news of five of his previously unreleased books will be on bookshelves sometime in the foreseeable future will probably unleash a whole new wave of Salingermania, and excite more than a few literary cynics out there as the unreleased works of any major author — let alone one as famous for his reclusiveness as he was his books — end up always being a big event.
So with that in mind, and with the little information we have to go on, let’s speculate on the five books Salinger supposedly instructed to be published in a sequence that he intended to begin as early as 2015.