J.D. Salinger Ailing, But Fighting New Book

Agent says reclusive author is deaf and rehabbing a broken hip

Reclusive "The Catcher in the Rye" author J.D. Salinger has gone deaf and is communicating his displeasure with a new book through handwritten notes from a facility where he is rehabbing a broken hip, his literary agent said.

Salinger, 90, who lives in rural New Hampshire, has "several age-related health problems" and had surgery for a broken hip last month, agent Phyllis Westberg said in an affidavit filed in Manhattan court last week, according to the Smoking Gun.

"I communicate in writing with Mr. Salinger (he is now totally deaf) frequently," Westberg said in the June 1 filing, noting "last week, he broke his hip, required surgery and is now in a rehabilitation facility." 

The author has not published a book in decades and steps into the public eye only to feverishly protect his privacy and his work.

Salinger filed suit in federal court last week to stop the publication of a sequel to his 1951 literary classic written by someone under the name John David California who Salinger claims is looking to rip off the famed book.

Though his condition is worsening, Salinger is "fully aware" of the unauthorized booked titled "60 Years Later: Coming Through the Rye" and wants to halt its publication and destroy any printed copies, the New York Post reported.

Salinger has never allowed his iconic work to be adapted to film or staged and he has "decidedly chosen not to exercise that right," the suit says.

A man who identified himself as California called the legal action "a little bit insane," according to the Associated Press. 

"To me, this is a story about an old man. It's a love story, a story about an author and his character," he said. "I did not mean to cause him any trouble."  

Salinger sued a man who tried to sell a fake interview with the author in 1982, and five years later sought legal action against the author of an unauthorized biography that quoted from copyrighted letters. The author also halted the production of a BBC TV show "Catcher."

The author has also shot down production requests from Steven Spielberg and Harvy Weinstein, court papers show.

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