Exciting news for fans of the late American writer J.D. Salinger: three of the author's previously unpublished stories have leaked online, including "The Ocean Full of Bowling Balls," a sort of prequel to his best-known work, The Catcher In The Rye.
The three stories, which also include "Birthday Boy" and "Paula," first emerged on the private BitTorrent website What.CD yesterday, Buzzfeed reports. According to a post on Reddit, where the leak was first publicly reported, the source of the leaks appears to be an unauthorized 25-copy edition that turned up on eBay (the auction closed in September at a sale price of about $117). The provenance of that unauthorized edition is not known.
Kenneth Slawenski, a Salinger scholar and owner of the website Dead Caulfields, confirmed to BuzzFeed that the leaked stories appear genuine. “While I do quibble with the ethics (or lack of ethics) in posting the Salinger stories, they look to be true transcripts of the originals," he said. (Slawenski had previously seen the unpublished manuscripts, according to Buzzfeed.)
"The Ocean Full of Bowling Balls" has actually been available to read for years at Princeton University's Firestone Library, although patrons are not allowed to check it out, and the reading must take place under supervision. The story was initially slated for publication in Harper's Bazaar, but was withdrawn by the author before publication.
Notoriously private, Salinger had specified in his will that the stories not be published until 50 years after his death, which would be in 2051, The Verge reports. Starting in 2015, his estate will be releasing at least five other previously unpublished works, according to the New York Times, including a collection that will reportedly be titled The Family Glass, after the main characters in his 1961 novel Franny and Zooey.