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Judge not impressed by 'Catcher' update

A SWEDISH author whose new book was promoted as a sequel to J.D. Salinger's "The Catcher in the Rye" cannot publish it in the United States because it too closely mirrors Salinger's classic without adequate parody or critique, a judge ruled on Wednesday.

District Court Judge Deborah Batts issued her written ruling in Manhattan after considering arguments in a lawsuit brought by the 90-year-old reclusive author against the publishers of "60 Years Later: Coming Through the Rye."

Batts said author Fredrik Colting had "taken well more from 'Catcher,' in both substance and style, than is necessary."

She said Colting's claim that he also wrote the book to examine Salinger's most famous character, Holden Caulfield, was "problematic and lacking in credibility."

She also rejected arguments that the depiction of a character in Colting's book to represent Caulfield 60 years later was a parody. She said that Colting and his publishers made no indication before the lawsuit was filed that the book was meant as a parody or critique.

"Quite to the contrary, the original jacket of '60 Years' states that it is '... a marvelous sequel to one of our most beloved classics'," the judge said.

A lawyer for Colting and SCB Distributors Inc, which would distribute the book in the US, said the defendants were "very disappointed that the judge chose to ban Mr Colting's book."

"Because of the court's decision banning the book, members of the public are deprived of the chance to read the book and decide for themselves whether it adds to their understanding of Salinger and his work," the lawyer, Edward H. Rosenthal, said in a statement.

SCB Distributors hoped to reverse the judge's ruling on appeal and sell the book in the US this fall, company president Aaron Silverman said.


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