July 1, 2009

(Not) Coming Through the Rye

Looks like we won't be able to buy Swedish author Fredrik Colting's unauthorized sequel to The Catcher in the Rye in the U.S. In the 37-page ruling filed today, Judge Batts wrote:

"In fact, it can be argued that the contrast between Holden’s authentic but critical and rebellious nature and his tendency toward depressive alienation is one of the key themes of Catcher. That many readers and critics have apparently idolized Caulfield for the former, despite — or perhaps because of — the latter, does not change the fact that those elements were already apparent in Catcher.

It is hardly parodic to repeat that same exercise in contrast, just because society and the characters have aged."
Cool. Judge Batts would've made a good English lit professor.

I'm not one of those avid Catcher in the Rye fans, but I remember I had a good time reading it. My sister mentioned this really good quote the other day and it's certainly one of the best parts of the book:
"Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody's around - nobody big, I mean - except me. And I'm standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff - I mean if they're running and they don't look where they're going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That's all I do all day. I'd just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it's crazy, but that's the only thing I'd really like to be."
I mean, how could you really improve on that? What an idea. I wonder if the 76-year-old "Mr. C" in Colting's sequel ended up being what he wanted to be: the catcher in the rye. Just that, and nothing more.

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