Questioning Catcher in the Rye sequel

So today I saw a story saying that a sequel to Catcher in the Rye has been published. What’s this, I thought to myself, Saligner has dragged himself from his self-imposed isolation to rock the literary fiction scene? But turns out no such thing is on the cards. Instead the book has been penned by first time novelist John David California and published by the very small Windupbird Publishing.

Ok, I can just about get with the idea of sequels being written by someone else if the author of the original tale dies unexpectedly – and then only if it’s done with great sensitivity – but to take someone else’s character and transplant then 60 years on? I don’t like it. Maybe the book itself, titled 60 Years Later: Coming Through the Rye, is a work of genius but for me that will never make up for the fact that it’s not California’s creation.

While many of the world’s most popular characters have specific hallmarks or patterns of speech that make them instantly recognisable, to me a character in a novel is a very personal thing – and an absolute understanding of one is not something that can be assumed.

But maybe I’m just being snobby – and maybe it’s something of a genre issue I’m having. After all TV series are written by teams of people normally, as are many films, while comic’s most iconic figures generally pass through the hands of scores of writers – each of whom is welcome to put their own slant on the character. But in the comic industry it’s expected as an integral part of the genre, and one that allows for a very different experience to that of conventional novels and in that respect I can’t get my head around it.

I haven’t read Catcher in the Rye in a long while, but Holden holds a special place in my teenage heart. I honestly don’t want to think of him being strong-armed into growing up – whether he’s been created as a genuine expression of admiration or not.

8 thoughts on “Questioning Catcher in the Rye sequel

  1. Oh, he is so going to get sued. 🙂

    Catcher in the Rye is still under copyright. George Lucas cracked down on Lori Jareo’s unauthorized Star Wars novel, Another Hope. There’s the Harry Potter Lexicon case just recently. All Salinger has to do is sneeze, and this book goes away.

    Buy it while you can. It’ll be a collector’s item.


  2. You know, I never even thought of that. You think Salinger would risk his (relative) peace though? I certainly would – but hey, I’ve never had any fame or expectations to avoid.

    What a lot of publicity this will buy for the publishers though, whatever happens.


  3. Salinger values his peace, but he values his privacy more. Look up sometime the lengths to which he’s gone to prevent a biography from being written or the love letters he wrote to Joyce Carol Oates (I think that’s the author he was involved with when she was in her twenties) from being published. Someone writing a sequel to Catcher will undoubtedly catch his attention and bring him, at least legally, out of his shell.

    However, I wonder if it’s all a joke. I can’t find any record of the publisher even existing. It’s named “Windupgirl” — “Wind Up Girl” broken down. I wonder if someone’s having a lark, and he’s trying to wind-up Salinger’s fans. I don’t know.


  4. If it’s a wind up, I’m pretty impressed. And I couldn’t find any internet presence for Windupbird either, which did strike me as a little suss. Although I mainly thought ‘haven’t these guys even heard of SEO?’

    The sources I found quoted “bird” rather than “girl”, which makes me wonder whether the potential hoaxer could be of UK origin? What with California as the writer’s surname….

    I will have to read up on Salinger’s activities over the years, I’ve never heard of the JCO connection before – cheers for the tip off! 🙂


  5. Sorry, I was running off memory, which is why I misremembered the publisher as “Windupgirl” rather than “Windupbird.” Oddly enough, yesterday at work I was quizzed on Brit slang for girl, of which “bird” is the primary slang term.


    • You know, i actually had to ask someone whether people say bird anywhere else when writing my last reply. It’s not my favourite slang term, but there are surely plenty that are far worse. If a guy calls me bird i can’t help but wonder if he’s feeling a little hen pecked!


  6. Pingback: Salinger’s lawyers on the Catcher in the Rye sequel « Lynsey May’s ranting in writing

  7. You’ll look a long time just before you’ll
    meet an additional young person like Holden Caulfield, as pleasant
    and, in spite of his failings, as noise. not out of the woods completely,
    there at the end, still we believe he’s going to transform out all.
    We wouldn’t even be amazed if he matured to compose a couple of books (he chats about publications fairly a whole lot), publications like
    “Of Human Chains,” “Look Homeward, Angel,” or “The Catcher in the Rye”– nothing
    so childlike as well as innocent as “Seventeen,” though.


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