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