Several months ago, Dartboard got wind of J.D. Salinger's plans to publish a new book. We were suspicious: why had the reclusive writer decided to publish for the first time in more than thirty years? Literary junkies that we are, we couldnt resist trying to track down more information for our near-barren Salinger file.
In late October we hit the Internet, the bookstores, the phones. We soon stumbled upon Roger Lathbury, the man behind Orchises Press, the diminutive publishing house that Salinger has apparently chosen for the book titled Hapworth 16, 1924. (The title comes from a long short story originally published in The New Yorker in 1965.)
"English Department," Lathbury, an associate professor at George Mason University, says as he answered the phone. Both times we called he seemed surprised and not terribly ecstatic that we had tracked him down. During our first conversation he confirmed that the book "is ready to go," and "should be out in January." In our second, mid-January conversation, he said the book had been pushed back, but wouldn't divulge the cause of the delay. We pried him for details, but all he would tell us is that the book would be undedicated, contain only the Hapworth story and that only very minor changes had been made from its original publication.
But as we approach the Ides of March, still no sign of Hapworth. Yesterday, however, we got an e-mail from Lathbury confirming that the book "is definitately on and will appear." Thank heavens.