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Tuesday, 12 March, 2002, 13:07 GMT
Salinger publication date recedes
JD Salinger: America's great literary mystery
The publication of a long-awaited work by the reclusive American writer JD Salinger looks further off than ever.

Online retailer has pulled a listing saying the novella Hapworth 16, 1924 will be published in book form in November.

The move follows statements that the date is wrong from Salinger's agent, Phyllis Westberg, and his publisher, Orchises.

An Amazon spokesman said the November date had probably come originally from a distributor's catalogue.

A letter from Salinger
Last year, letters from Salinger failed to sell at auction

He declined to say how many orders had been placed for Hapworth, which on Tuesday afternoon ranked 26,286th in sales on the website.

Hapworth last appeared in print in 1965, in The New Yorker magazine, and has been expected to appear in book form for around five years.

In 1997, Westberg confirmed rumours that a book version of Hapworth was coming out soon, and that the author had signed with the small, Virginia-based imprint Orchises.

The novella is an episode from Salinger's famous Glass family saga.

'Completely charmless'

It takes the form of a purported letter from summer camp written by the precocious, seven-year-old Seymour Glass.

In 1997, New York Times critic Michiko Kakutani tracked down the old New Yorker text and dismissed the tale as a "sour, implausible, and, sad to say, completely charmless story".

The Hapworth book, for unknown reasons, failed to materialise.

Salinger was - as always - unavailable for comment.

Orchises would say only that publication was still planned, but did not give a date.

See also:

13 Dec 01 | Showbiz
Salinger's letters fail to sell
23 Jun 99 | Entertainment
Salinger's letters: Return to sender
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