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Salinger threatens legal action over Catcher in the Rye sequel

Don’t piss off J.D. Salinger. The famously reclusive author is also famously litigious, and the latest person to get caught in his legal sights is one J.D. California, the improbably named author of 60 Years Later: Coming Through the Rye, a sequel to Salinger’s iconic 1951 novel The Catcher in the Rye.

The Bookseller.com is reporting that Salinger’s lawyer has filed suit in Manhattan to stop the American publication of California’s unauthorized sequel, which is already available in the U.K.

The lawsuit said the right to create a sequel to The Catcher in the Rye or to use the character Holden Caulfield belonged only to Salinger. “The sequel is not a parody and it does not comment upon or criticise the original,” Salinger’s lawsuit is reported by the Associated Press to say. “It is a ripoff, pure and simple.” The suit also seeks unspecified damages.

This is not the first time Salinger has sued to prevent the publication of a book. In 1986, Salinger initiated legal action to prevent the publication of a biography by Ian Hamilton, which contained reproductions of letters Salinger had written to various correspondents. Although the book was eventually published with the letters excised or paraphrased, the contents of Salinger’s correspondence did make it into the public record in legal documents connected with the suit.

Salinger has also been the subject of two memoirs, one by his ex-girlfriend Joyce Maynard, the other by his daughter, Margaret.

Whatever the outcome of the current lawsuit, it may already be too late to prevent the dissemination of 60 Years Later. As of this morning, the book was for sale on Amazon.co.uk.

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