It certainly got the blogosphere buzzing. But that doesn't make it true. Yesterday's Guardian ran an interview with a writer named John David California who says he's the author of an unauthorized sequel to J.D. Salinger's 1951 classic "Catcher in the Rye."
The sequel is called "60 Years Later: Coming Through the Rye," to be published next month in the U.K. by Windupbird Publishing.
(According to Amazon, the book will be released in the US this fall by Nicotext.)
In the book, says California, protagonist Holden Caufield, now 76, flees a nursing home to revisit the streets of New York. "It's pretty much like the first book in that he roams around the city, inside himself and his past," California told the Guardian. "He's still Holden Caulfield, and has a particular view on things. He can be tired, and he's disappointed in the goddamn world. He's older and wiser in a sense, but in another sense he doesn't have all the answers."
But is it for real? Galley Cat, mediabistro's book blog, suspects a hoax. They find odd California's birthdate (April 1, 1976) and his "fantastical" biography as listed on Amazon: "The former gravedigger and Ironman triathlete has been captivated by the story of Holden Caulfield for years. After finding a well-travelled copy of The Catcher in the Rye in an abandoned cabin in rural Cambodia, the iconic characters within saw John through the most maniacal of tropical fevers and chronic isolation."
In addition, they note, the book's publisher as listed by Amazon is Nicotext, a company whose mission statement boasts, "We make books whose sole purpose it is to make you giggle. While thumbing our collective nose at the literati, we have found our niche amongst the useless, the trivial and the potentially offensive."
Sounds like the whole project can be summed up by Sanjay Gupta's words in a CNN piece this morning about Oprah's magic Brazilian acai berry (helps you lose weight, makes you younger and stronger): "When it sounds too good to be true, it probably is."