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3 unpublished J.D. Salinger stories mysteriously appear online

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A recent documentary on J.D. Salinger explored his professional and personal life, but the one question that kept coming up, from friends, fans, and admirers of the very private author, was: Are you still writing?

Looks like the answer was "yes." Salinger died in 2010, but three of his stories have surfaced online: The Ocean Full of Bowling Balls, Paula, and Birthday Boy. The details were published on Reddit three months ago, including the revelation that “Mr. Salinger instructed his estate to publish at least five additional books—some of them entirely new, some extending past work—in a sequence that he intended to begin as early as 2015.”

It looks like the stories, originally titled Three Stories, might have come from this eBay auction back in September. Yesterday, they were uploaded to the private, invitation-only file-sharing site What.cd, but have already migrated to other torrent sites. They’ve also been scanned and uploaded to image hosting site Imgur.

In an interview with BuzzFeed, Salinger scholar Kenneth Slawenski confirmed the legitimacy of the stories: “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 and match my own copies.”

The Ocean Full of Bowling Balls, which is a prequel to his most famous work, The Catcher in the Rye, has been especially sought after. Until now, it has only been available through the Princeton library, where Salinger donated it. To access the work. you need to hand over two forms of ID, and then read it under library supervision. Apparently, Salinger requested that it be only be published 50 years after his death.

In that same BuzzFeed interview, On the Media producer PJ Vogt claims he read the story at Princeton in 2010, and that he’s “fairly certain” it’s the same work. While this is quite an amazing discovery for Salinger fans, there's still the mystery of how those works ended up in a British eBay auction.

Photo via contemplicity/Flickr