Aaron Silverman, president of SCB Distributors, thought John David California's 60 Years Later: Coming Through the Rye, might not sit well with J.D. Salinger, but he never expected to wind up in court because of it. SCB is the U.S. distributor of California's rumination on Salinger's coming of age tale, Catcher in the Rye, and Silverman described the book as less a sequel to Catcher than a conversation between the book's protagonist, Holden Caufield, and Salinger himself. Despite those difference, Silverman said he's been inundated with e-mails from Salinger's attorneys after the author sought to block the book from publication.
Coming Through the Rye was originally published by the Swedish press Nicotext--California was born in the U.S., but his mother is Swedish--and released in the U.K. by Windupbird Publishing. Since the book's been available for months in England, Silverman assumed Salinger didn't become aware of the title until news broke that SCB planned on releasing the book in the U.S. in mid September.
In preparation for the American release, Silverman sent out a handful of galleys, and then, according to reports about the court filing, Salinger named Windupbird, Nicotext and SCB in his suit, claiming the book is in violation of copyright law. Silverman is in the process of getting a lawyer to respond to the complaint. "I got eight or nine e-mails from Salinger's lawyers," he told PW. "[Salinger] doesn't screw around with this stuff. Anyone else in the world would have just called us and asked us not to publish the book."
Although Silverman thinks the book is "fantastic," he's not sure what will happen now. There is, of course, demand--even if it's only of the salacious variety. To that end, galleys of Coming Through the Rye are currently available on Amazon, as used books, in the $40 to $50 range. Whether the book will see the light of day though, remains to be seen. After finding a lawyer, Silverman said, "we'll answer the complaint and get advice on making changes to conform to copyright law."