Book lovers everywhere, rejoice! 55 years after To Kill A Mockingbird first appeared on bookshelves and won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, a sequel will be released later this year.
Harper Lee, who has lived quietly in Alabama for the past five decades, said Tuesday it’s not that it took her nearly half a century to write Go Set A Watchman, but she had misplaced the manuscript and assumed it was lost forever. Lee, who is now 88, added:
“It’s a pretty decent effort.”
Go Set A Watchman was actually written before To Kill A Mockingbird, but Lee’s editor suggested she write her first novel from the perspective of a young Scout, the girl who narrates the novel. As Lee recalls:
“It (Go Set a Watchman) features the character known as Scout as an adult woman. My editor, who was taken by the flashbacks to Scout’s childhood, persuaded me to write a novel from the point of view of the young Scout. I was a first-time writer, so I did as I was told.”
Lee, who is known in literary circles as a bit of a reclusive figure, had thought the only copy of Go Set A Watchman had been lost and would never be recovered, but in 2014 her lawyer, Tonya Carter, found it attached to an original manuscript of To Kill A Mockingbird. Lee was reluctant to publish the work, but changed her mind:
“After much thought and hesitation I shared it with a handful of people I trust and was pleased to hear that they considered it worthy of publication. I am humbled and amazed that this will now be published after all these years.”
Harper Collins, which will release the book on July 14, would only reveal the following about the long-anticipated second novel:
“Scout is forced to grapple with issues both personal and political as she tries to understand her father’s attitude toward society, and her own feelings about the place where she was born and spent her childhood”.
There were, however, a few critics who were less than ecstatic about the news of a new book from Harper Lee. Ian Harper of Cambridge University, said:
“I can’t but imagine it must be of historical interest rather than anything else, at this point It will doubtless be eagerly read by fans of To Kill a Mockingbird, but that’s a soggy sentimental liberal novel if ever there was one. I’m always dubious of attempts to close the gap between fiction and reality.”
Professor Harper will have to forgive the rest of us if we rush out to buy the book in July. We’ve been waiting a long time.
This article was originally published by the same author at LiberalAmerica.org