Salinger’s wishes ignored as scanned stories are leaked

The Guardian, LONDON

Sat, Nov 30, 2013 - Page 7

An anonymous filesharer has gone against the wishes of J.D. Salinger about the posthumous publication of his works by leaking a scanned version of three of his short stories online.

They include Ocean Full of Bowling Balls, thought to be one of the author’s best, and which he directed should not be published before 2060.

A PDF which appeared to be a scan of a paperback book entitled Three Stories first showed up in an EBay auction.

A post on Reddit suggested that a scan of the book was then uploaded to a filesharing site. Notes on Reddit reported that the uploader claimed that the paperback was No. 6 of 25 copies published in London in 1999.

Ocean Full of Bowling Balls has previously been available to read under supervision at Princeton library. The story concerns the death of Kenneth Caulfield, who developed into the character of Holden’s little brother Allie in The Catcher in the Rye.

The terms of its donation to the library stipulated that it should not be published until Jan. 27, 2060, 50 years after Salinger’s death.

The two other stories in the scanned paperback are Paula and Birthday Boy, which have only previously been readable at the University of Texas’ Harry Ransom Center.

Birthday Boy, completed in 1946, is referenced by Salinger in letters as late as 1951.

Salinger academic Kenneth Slawenski, author of J.D. Salinger: A Life, told Buzzfeed that “they look to be true transcripts of the originals and match my own copies.”

After publication of The Catcher in the Rye in 1951, Salinger fled New York to lead a reclusive life in New Hampshire.

Makers of the documentary film Salinger have claimed that he was writing during this time and that he left instructions to his estate to publish five new books between 2015 and 2020, including A Counterintelligence Agent’s Diary, based on the writer’s experience interrogating prisoners during the final months of World War II, and an unseen collection of short stories, The Complete Chronicle of the Glass Family.

The record of the EBay auction, now closed, showed that the winning bid was for £67.50 (US$110.34).