x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

What Holden Caulfield might have done eventually

Frederick Colting and the JD Salinger estate have reached agreement about Colting's 'sequel' to Catcher in the Rye: it can be published anywhere except North America.

There are probably a few out there who have wondered what became of young Holden Caulfield after his only literary adventure. JD Salinger may have kept famously shtum about almost everything since Catcher in the Rye was first published in 1951, but a Swedish author, Frederick Colting, thought he'd write a sequel anyway.

The result: 60 Years Later: Coming Through the Rye sees a septuagenarian protagonist called Mr C go on a similar journey to the original, this time with the escape being from an old people's home. Unfortunately, this tale of geriatric high-jinks won't be available to all: the book won't be going on sale in North America.

Salinger wasn't terribly chuffed at Caulfield's next chapter and his lawyers blocked publication in the US in 2009, just six months before the author's death at 91, describing it as "a rip-off, pure and simple".

Now, according to Publishers Weekly, Salinger's estate has finally agreed a settlement with Colting that bans publication in the US and Canada, but allows its sale elsewhere across the world with several restrictions.

Apparently, Colting can't give his book its original title. Nor can he dedicate it to Salinger, refer to Salinger or The Catcher in the Rye, or use the copyright claim to promote the work.

It sounds almost ironic. Over the past 50 years, Catcher has been among the most controversial books on American bookshelves; the most censored title in schools and libraries across the US between 1961 and 1982 and one of the most frequently challenged.

Luckily, times have changed and the book has become a cherished literary classic. Just don't write about what Holden Caulfield did next.