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US judge bans Swede's Salinger 'sequel'

Published: 02 Jul 2009 08:17 GMT+02:00
Updated: 02 Jul 2009 08:17 GMT+02:00

According to Manhattan district court judge Deborah Batts, the main character and style of 60 Years Later: Coming Through the Rye, a novel penned by Swede Fredrik Colting under the pseudonym J.D. California, were too close to Salinger’s original to qualify as satire or a parody.

“The court finds that '60 Years' contains no reasonably perceived parodic character as to 'Catcher' and Holden Caulfield,” Batts ruled on Wednesday, according to the Reuters news agency.

The ruling stunned Colting, a 33-year-old native of Borås in western Sweden, who has already had his book published in the UK.

“I am pretty blown away by the judge’s decision,” Mr. Colting told the New York Times.

“Call me an ignorant Swede, but the last thing I thought possible in the US was that you banned books.”

Colting and his lawyers promised to appeal the injunction.

“Because of the Court's decision banning the book, members of the public are deprived of the chance to read the book and decide for themselves whether it adds to their understanding of Salinger and his work,” Colting’s lawyer, Edward H. Rosenthal, said in a statement.

The ruling is a legal victory for the reclusive Salinger, who despite being 90-years-old and reportedly in poor health, remains fiercely protective of attempts to create derivative works based on Catcher or the book’s main character, Holden Caulfield.

In Colting’s novel, a 76-year-old protagonist named “Mr. C” who escapes from a nursing home and embarks on a series of adventures and cynical soul searching in New York.

The court’s decision means 60 years won’t be published in the United States pending the outcome subsequent litigation, which could last months or years.

To overturn the ruling, Colting and his lawyers must now turn to a federal appeals court in New York

David Landes (david.landes@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

09:09 July 2, 2009 by Swedecakes
Here is another case of a Swede copying something that somebody else has done, instead of coming up with an original idea. Swedish television is rife with poor copies of shows originating in other countries.

Authors have long written sequels or prequels to other writers' works. One of the most effective was "The Wide Sargasso Sea" written by Jean Rhys, who provides the background story of Rochester's mad wife in the Charlotte Bront novel "Jane Eyre". But Rhys has an established literary reputation.

If the case of Colting's book has reached the New York courts, there must be enough people in the publishing world who believe that the book is sufficiently unoriginal to warrant stopping publication.
11:52 July 2, 2009 by Miss Kitten
QUOTE (Mr. Colting)Call me an ignorant Swede, but the last thing I thought possible in the US was that you banned books.

That's quite funny (and ignorant) coming from him because one of the most frequently challenged/banned books in the US is in fact, The Catcher in the Rye. He should feel honored that his book has been banned as well.

List of most commonly challenged books in the US.
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