Buzzfeed is reporting that three previously unavailable stories by J.D. Salinger have been leaked online this evening, apparently in PDF and other versions of a small print book.
The collection, titled “Three Stories,” and featuring a plain black cover, includes “Birthday Boy,” “Paula” and “The Ocean Full of Bowling Balls.” The latter piece is a precursor, of sorts, to “The Catcher in the Rye,” detailing the death of Holden Caulfield’s brother, named Kenneth in the story, not Allie as he is in the finished book.
I’ve never read “The Ocean Full of Bowling Balls”: It’s part of a collection of Salinger material at the Princeton University Library and available only to scholars who are supervised as they read. I have read the other two stories, however, at the University of Texas’ Ransom Center, and the versions of them in “Three Stories” are the real deal.
The Ransom Center is relatively free with its manuscripts; visitors can even have photocopies made, although they are prohibited from circulating the work. It’s more difficult to imagine how a manuscript was copied from the Princeton Library, but in this digital age, I have little doubt that it could be done.