The new documentary "Salinger" is a sleeper, for now. Even in the artsy upscale town of Madison, Connecticut the theatre was only one-tenth full with viewers on a Saturday night. But the money will be made when, as the documentary announces, unpublished work will be released beginning in 2015.
The world will run out to buy it to discern if J.D. Salinger had already produced his best work. The film chronicles his breakthrough novel "Catcher in the Rye" and the collections of Glass family short stories. The new work will continue with the Glass family. Some will also build on Salinger's experience in World War II as an intelligence officer. There's also one which seems to be trying to make sense of his short marriage to a former Nazi woman. Salinger's father was Jewish.
From the documentary those of us who had majored in literature (there used to such a thing years ago) will conclude that Salinger was a kind of James Joyce. Both manipulated reality to provide material for their writing. Even Salinger's supposedly intimate relationships seemed to be engineered to satisfy his fantasy life. That, in turn, was the platform for copy.
No, this wasn't a nice guy. Actually he comes across as more Machiavellian than most politicos and business leaders. The recluse persona, some interpret, as an elaborate publicity strategy. He has many critics and enemies. They will be delighted if his new writing is mediocre.