Monday, 18 May 2009

J.D. Salinger

Any bookarmy member who has been with us since our first public outing last November may have noticed that the bookarmy team have a bit of a soft spot for J.D. Salinger. And why not? The Catcher in the Rye is a must read not only because it’s a brilliant novel, but also because it continues to have great cultural significance:
It is reported that over 250,000 copies or sold every year, it is studied by almost every other American high school student, and it has been present at several high profile assassinations including John Lennon’s, where his murderer Mark David Chapman carried a copy in his pocket, saying later that the novel explained his actions.

The Catcher in the Rye is still hugely significant and helped to make Salinger a literary giant. The author withdrew from public life in the 1950s, but now we have a sequel to The Catcher in The Rye, not by J.D. Salinger but by John David California, called Beyond the Rye.

My first reaction on hearing the news was, “Oh no! It won't be the same”, while simultaneously wondering if it was actually true (as did Wikipedia, as it turned out), but this initial outcry was swiftly followed by: “brave man”, after I discovered that it was in fact true and more than this, it is California’s debut novel. Although California has dedicated Beyond the Rye to Salinger, J.D. hasn't authorised it, and without his input, can this really be considered a sequel to Catcher, let alone one that will satisfy the millions of fans?

As yet, I haven’t been able to get my hands on a copy, so I can't give you any insight into whether it is any good, but this is the synopsis:

A 76-year-old man wakes up in a nursing home in upstate New York. This seemingly normal day brings with it an unnerving compulsion to flee his present situation and embark on a curious journey through the streets of New York City. Powerless to resist these strange new urges, Holden Caulfield, like a decrepit marionette, finds himself in the midst of bizarre and occasionally depraved escapades. Is senility finally closing in or is some higher power controlling the chaos? 60 years after his debut as the great American anti-hero, Holden Caulfield is yanked back onto the page without a goddamn clue why.

Hmmm, not sure and neither are the readers of The Bookseller's blog, one commenter declaring:

'This really should never be published. As people have said before, it is absolutely wrong for someone random to cash in on a literary classic. If Salinger wants to write a sequel, fine; but this should never be classed as anything other than what it is: a 'fanfic'.'

If anyone has read Beyond the Rye, or knows any more about it, please let me know.
Posted by Hannah

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