Unauthorized Sequels

02Jun09


There’s an article on BBC today (and some other newspapers) about a Swedish author publishing the sequel to one of my favorite novels of all times, Catcher In The Rye. I don’t know why, but I love the book, and I absolutely loved the hypocrite that was Holden Caulfield, I don’t understand how someone can’t love him. 

Sorry, I digress, because, this isn’t a post about Caulfield. If it was, I could rant on and on, for about two hours, and still have a lot to say. Instead, I find that it really annoys me that someone decided to write a sequel to one of the most controversial books of our times, without Salinger’s permission. And then, then, he ends up referring to the legal action as a little bit insane. 

This isn’t the first instance of someone picking up characters created by a genius, and trying to make a quick buck by riding on their success. I’ve seen it happen with Enid Blyton, where someone tried to extend The Famous Five, and recently, while I was walking around in Selfridges, I came across something called The Famous Five Case Files. I picked one of them up, and almost gagged at how commercial it sounded… 

Someone did the same with The Naughtiest Girl series, and I actually purchased one of the non-Enid Blyton ones. I was mortified, and said a silent prayer for poor Blyton, who must be turning in her grave – it was honestly cringe-worthy. Whatever next?

The thing with Catcher is, Salinger has made it very clear that he doesn’t even want Holden Caulfield to be played on the big screen. He’s withdrawn from the public eye, and whatever little I know seems to indicate that, at the age of ninety, he doesn’t want to battle some bright spark who thought it was a good idea to figure out how Caulfield was doing some sixty years later. His defense is, he always wondered about it… But, didn’t we all? And wasn’t that the beauty of the ending – that all of us could let our imagination run away with us, and figure out how Caulfield was doing. Honestly, in my head, I envisaged two or three different endings for him, and I still can’t choose my favorite. I’ll leave that for another day. 

If you’re interested in reading more, The Guardian has a slightly more informative article on this. 

What do you think? Should the sequel be allowed? Or, do you hope Salinger wins the court battle, and we never have to witness this travesty?

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4 Responses to “Unauthorized Sequels”

  1. I really don’t think people should touch other people’s creations like that!!! It is one thing to help an author finish a book that was started posthumously but to take an author’s character and write about it yourself doesn’t seem right. The guy should just create his own “Holden Caulfieldesque” character and go from there … not outright say “this is what happened next.” I hope Salinger wins. With any luck, he has a sequel already done and just sitting there waiting for him to pass. But, when I think about it, probably not. : )

    • 2 uncertainprinciples

      I couldn’t agree with you more, and nope – I don’t think Caulfield has a sequel just lying there either, unfortunately. :(

      I can just imagine his character being completely butchered, and made commercial, if this book gets published. Ugh.

  2. 3 Jo

    I haven’t actually read this since I was 15! But no, leave it alone,leave it alone! We can all imagine what might have happened but the only person I would be interested in reading this fromis Salinger himself, and thats highly unlikely!
    And on the Enid Blyton front, they should leave her alone too, and stop the mass censorship of her books!

    • 4 uncertainprinciples

      I couldn’t agree with you more either! It feels like a day of solidarity here. :)

      Censorship of Enid Blyton books is something else I don’t quite understand. I know they say it’s sexist and racist, but…. I practically grew up reading her books, and I never even thought along those lines, ’til some article pointed it out to me. We live in a politically correct crazy world!


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