Judge blocks Catcher in the Rye sequel

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A Swedish author whose new book was promoted as a sequel to J D Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye cannot publish it in the United States because it too closely mirrors Salinger's classic without adequate parody or critique, a judge ruled.

District Judge Deborah Batts issued her ruling in Manhattan after considering arguments in a lawsuit brought by the 90-year-old reclusive author against the publishers of 60 Years Later: Coming Through the Rye. Judge Batts said its author, Fredrik Colting, had "taken well more from Catcher, in both substance and style, than is necessary for the alleged transformative purpose of criticising Salinger and his attitudes and behaviour". His claim that he also wrote the book to critically examine the main character, Holden Caulfield, was "problematic and lacking in credibility".

She rejected arguments that the depiction of a character in Colting's book who represented Caulfield 60 years later was a parody. She said in a footnote that Colting and his publishers made no indication before the lawsuit was filed that the book was meant as a parody or critique.

"The original jacket of 60 Years states that it is '... a marvellous sequel to one of our most beloved classics'. It is simply not credible for defendant Colting to assert now that his primary purpose was to critique Salinger and his persona." A lawyer for Colting and the book's US distributor, SCB Distributors Inc., said the defendants were "very disappointed" that the judge chose to ban Mr Colting's book". It was scheduled to be published in the US later this summer.

The book has already been published in England.