As an avid reader from an early age, Catcher In The Rye was one of the first books that would color my world view. J.D. Salinger's classic of teenage angst hit me like a freight train and wherever I have lived over the years, I always make sure that the thin Signet paperback edition that I bought with money from my paper route at age 12 and read twice through -- as well as several more times over the years -- is on my bookshelf.
And so I have followed the author's legendary 45-year disappearing act with interest, as well as the cottage industry in speculation about what lurks inside the head of the now 90-year-old Salinger.
The author himself is now writing the latest chapter in his strange life story. In a lawsuit, he seeks the "recall and destruction" of a novel set to be published in the U.K. this summer and the U.S. in the fall: 60 Years Later: Coming Through the Rye by the pseudonymous John David California.
In the novel, a 76-year-old man called "Mr. C," an obvious stand-in for Salinger's Holden Caufield character from the original novel, escapes from a nursing home, encountering as part of his travels "a Salinger-like figure" as he seeks to retrace Caufield's youthful steps.
But what if Salinger is actually California and he is putting a huge joke over on us?