NEW YORK — J.D. Salinger is taking another fan to court.
The 90-year-old creator of The Catcher in the Rye, as protective of his copyright as he is of his privacy, is seeking an injunction against the writer, publishers and distributor of a spinoff of the author’s famous novel.
Lawyers for Salinger filed the lawsuit in federal court in Manhattan on Monday, seeking to force a recall of what it says is a copycat book titled 60 Years Later: Coming Through the Rye, by someone writing under the name John David California. It also seeks unspecified damages.
The lawsuit said the right to create a sequel to The Catcher in the Rye or to use the character “Holden Caulfield” belongs only to Salinger. The lawsuit says Salinger has “decidedly chosen not to exercise that right.”
Besides California, identified in the court papers as “John Doe,” the lawsuit also cites Windupbird Publishing, an obscure company allegedly based in London; a Swedish publisher, Nicotext; and SCB Distributors.
In 60 Years Later, scheduled to be published in Britain this summer and in the United States in the fall, a character very much like Caulfield is 76 years old, an escapee from a retirement home and identified as “Mr. C.”
“The Sequel is not a parody and it does not comment upon or criticize the original,” Salinger’s lawsuit alleged.
“It is a ripoff pure and simple.”
Reached by the AP, a man identifying himself as California said that he lived outside of Goteborg, Sweden.
He called the legal action “a little bit insane” and said that Salinger had control over the names of his characters, but not over his style or perspective.