An anonymous uploader leaked three previously unpublished J.D. Salinger stories this week. Previously only available at research libraries, the famously reclusive author’s “The Ocean Full of Bowling Balls,” “Paula,” and “Birthday Boy” have apparently been traced to an eBay auction that ended on Sept. 23 with an astonishly low winning bid of £67.50 (or about $110). According to BuzzFeed, which first reported on the leak, Salinger expert Kenneth Slawenski has attested to the authenticity of the text.
“The Ocean Full of Bowling Balls” was previously only available at Princeton University, and the other two were held at the University of Texas’ Harry Ransom Center. The stories appear as PDFs of a printed (and presumably illegal) booklet with all three stories, though the printer has yet to be determined.
Most fascinating of the trio is ”Bowling Balls,” which was not supposed to be published until Jan. 27, 2060 (50 years after Salinger’s death), per an agreement with Princeton. A sort of prequel to Catcher in the Rye, the story was originally written for Harper’s Bazaar, and many believe it to be Salinger’s foremost unpublished work.