‘Catcher in the Rye’ Sequel: Banned in US and Canada, Terrible Everywhere
Anyone want to read about a confused, bitter 76-year-old Holden Caulfield wandering New York City? Before you answer that question—let me just say your answer should be no.
This week J.D. Salinger’s lawyers finally caved in to Swedish-American author Fredrick Colting, allowing him to publish his “Catcher in the Rye” sequel “60 Years Later: Coming Through the Rye” everywhere except the United States and Canada.
When news of Colting’s novel first surfaced in 2009 the author, better known by his terrible pen name John David California, was slapped with a lawsuit by the then 90-year-old Salinger. It seems as though Salinger’s lawyers have loosened their collars since the reclusive curmudgeon passed away this past winter. And that’s not a good thing.
Colting’s opportunistic rip-off of the 1951 classic looks to be nothing more than a money-grubbing manuever to reap the benefits of one of the most iconic books in American literature. Yet, in our sequel-hungry society Colting’s savvy to shamelessly suckle off Salinger’s cold tit will most likely be rewarded in a financial windfall.
The mere curiosity of the masses will reward the incorrigible John David California.
Salinger was known to be a fierce protector of his novel, before and after his disappearance into the great unknown: New Hampshire. When the jaded author vanished, he transcended into a myth and literature lore, a legend of high school literature classrooms.
He refused to sell the book’s rights to a film studio, nobly paying no mind to his certain monetary gain. Salinger’s efforts have saved his novel from corruption and ruin, leaving the reader’s imagination to paint the story.
For any teenager that has ever been lost, frustrated, or emotionally confused Holden Caulfield was a literary character that felt your pain. His precocious cynicism of our “phony” world never feels dated, even 60 years after Salinger channeled America’s teenage angst.
So why ruin perfection with an unworthy sequel or film (see: “The Great Gatsby”)?
In a letter to a movie producer who requested the rights for “Catcher in the Rye” Salinger, not so politely, pointed out the glaringly obvious fact that the role of Holden Caulfield is perfectly flawed and he doesn’t want anyone fucking up his character-driven masterpiece.
“And Holden Caulfield himself, in my undoubtedly super-biassed opinion, is essentially unactable. A Sensitive, Intelligent, Talented Young Actor in a Reversible Coat wouldn’t nearly be enough. It would take someone with X to bring it off, and no very young man even if he has X quite knows what to do with it. And, I might add, I don’t think any director can tell him.”
No one knows exactly what X is, I’m not even sure Salinger would be able to adequately explain it. And that’s exactly why we cherish it.