To Kill a Mockingbird; loved by many, winner of puilzer prize has sold and bought over 40 million copies worldwide. So it is completely understandable to be apprehensive toward a “secondary” story and a revisit to Maycomb.
55 years after Harper Lee’s debut novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, was published Lee has annonced her must anticipated second book: Go Set a Watchman, due to be released this summer. News of the publication excited fans of the 88-year-old author after much expectation and a weight that has been on Harper Lee’s shoulders in the past to release a second follow up novel.
“It features the character known as Scout as an adult woman and I thought it a pretty decent effort,” Lee said in a statement. “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.”
She then added “I hadn’t realised it had survived, so was surprised and delighted when my dear friend and lawyer Tonja Carter discovered it. 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.”
However when the news was announced questions arose about the author’s ability to consent to publish of the novel and that the company was manipulating her. Recently a law suit has been placed against the company stating that it was ‘elder abuse’ toward Harper Lee. However no evidence was found and the case was over ruled.
The novel was written in the mid-1950’s and was thought to have been lost by the publishing company and most importantly Harper Lee. This makes the media speculate on the authenticity of the novel and the condition of the text that’s been written.
Likewise, in an interview with Harper Lee’s sister. Alice Cater – who died last year at the age of 103 – she stated: “Poor Nelle Harper can’t see and can’t hear and will sign anything put before her by anyone in whom she has confidence.” This leaves others to suggest that Harper Lee was forced into signing by her agent and therefor the publish isn’t for the right reasons.
On the other hand, I believe that Harper Lee has all conscious intentions to publish and release her novel. As an English student studying her first novel To Kill a Mockingbird I have all hope and confidence that she will publish her novel and that it will be well received as I am very interested in the story line and would like to see if Harper Lee was just a one hit wonder or if her following stories can live up to the expectation set by her debut novel.
In an interview with Jonathan Burnham, senior vice-president at HarperCollins, he said: “Harper Lee was delighted to learn of the discovery of the manuscript of Go Set a Watchman, and – as her statement in the press release attests – is very happy to see this novel published at long last. To suggest otherwise is completely unacceptable.”
Conversely, I fear that many people in the media and outside of it will not receive the novel the same way To Kill a Mockingbird was, and therefore ruin her reputation. I think that the media will be split over opinions on the book and that she will receive a lot of hatred from previous fans of hers. Nevertheless I believe that the novel will still have a lot of support and will continue Harper Lee’s fame long after To Kill a Mockingbird.
Harper Lee is and will always remain a literary genius. However should a one hit wonder always stay a one hit wonder?