Book nerds everywhere are rejoicing. A mysterious discovery has been made worthy of its own literary telling. Harper Lee wrote the Pulitzer Prize winning novel, “To Kill A Mockingbird,” in the 1950’s. It is her only published book. That is until this summer. Lee had started writing “Go Set A Watchman” as her first novel about a young woman named Scout returning to her home town of Maycomb, Alabama to visit her father, Atticus. There are flashbacks to the time when Scout was a girl growing up in that town. Her editor back then thought that the references to the past were the real story. “I was a first-time writer, so I did as I was told,” recalls the author. Lee spent the next two years working and editing what was to become one of the most beloved books in history. “Mockingbird” was published in 1960. More than 50 years later the manuscript, once thought lost, was discovered in the writer’s archives affixed to an original typed manuscript of “Mockingbird.” It is set to be published on July 14, 2015. It will be released as is with no revisions.
The story takes place 20 years after the events in “Mockingbird.” Scout is living in New York and comes home to visit her father. It is set in the time of history during which Lee was writing it. The themes are similar to “Mockingbird,” heavy with racial tensions, struggling with what is right and just, and the unique relationship between a father and daughter. Many readers are thrilled to delve further into these themes and characters. Many are skeptical. This was a young writer’s first attempt, will it lack structure and finesse? Some remain dubious of the discovery. How does one lose an entire manuscript? At any rate, the release of “Watchman” will be a success. The first printing will be 2 million copies which is along the lines of a Stephen King book. Literary collectors, “Mockingbird” fans, and even the average reader will be clamoring to get their hands on a copy. It is sure to be one of the most talked about books of the year.
Lee, 88, currently lives in her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama, the inspiration for the town of Maycomb. She lives in an assisted living facility. A close friend notes that she is in poor health. Her literary agent, Andrew Nurnberg met with her recently and found her “feisty and in very fine spirits.” Somewhat adverse to the public eye, it is unlikely she will do publicity for “Watchman.” She hasn’t said much about the major announcement of her second book besides her official statement. Nurnberg reports that Lee does not agree with tagging “Watchman” as a sequel, she prefers to think of it as “the parent of “Mockingbird.””
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