Stop (Almost All) The Presses, There’s a New Harper Lee Novel

February 3, 2015

If you’ve been on social media in the last 24 hours then you’re probably aware that Harper Lee, author of To Kill a Mockingbird and famous for staying out of the spotlight has a new book coming out in July.

Bookish circles have long wondered why Harper Lee never wrote another novel (a question never satisfactorily answered, despite hints, in the contested memoir The Mockingbird Next Door by Marja Mills), and now we have a sequel. Go Set a Watchman is a sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird (though it was written first) and takes place when Scout is a young woman returning to Maycomb.

There is so much excitement about this book that I’m worried it might be drowning out some important questions. Lee’s sister Alice was in many ways Harper’s protecter. She shielded her from people who tried to get too close and take advantage of her or gain power over her estate after her stroke. Alice died last year and Lee’s lawyer seems to be the main line of defense now. From what I gather, it seems the lawyer is also the person who found the manuscript of Go Set a Watchman.

So I’m worried. I’m worried that the release of this book is not necessarily what a Harper Lee with her full capacities wanted.

At the same time, I desperately want to read that book. The publisher is planning a print run of two million copies (that’s a ton, trust me) and I’ve already pre-ordered my copy (fun-fact: as of now, Go Set a Watchman is ranked #1 on Amazon. The AP broke the news at 7:05 this morning.)

For more info, check out Book Riot, Jezebel, and the NYT.

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