THIS DAY IN LITERATURE:
This week it was announced that the reclusive author, Harper Lee, has decided to publish again.
I wrote a piece early on with this blog:
In it I spoke about Harper Lee and how I found it strange that she was one of few authors, to come out with success with really just one book, years ago, and never to have published much since.
As a struggling, beginner writer, I guess I found it amazing that she was able to walk away from success.
I wondered: if I had found success in writing a hit novel, like Lee, would I be able to stop there, at that?
Of course I can understand the fear of never being able to top something as huge as
I got the feeling, while researching the post I wrote last spring, she didn’t ever plan to try.
Until now, that is…
GO SET A WATCHMAN: to be released July 14th.
This news of her publisher’s plan to release “Go Set a Watchman” on Jul 14th made me happy, at first.
I am still thrilled, of course, as “To Kill a Mockingbird” is a true classic.
It’s a book lover’s fantasy, such as my own, to think there’s some hidden literary gold stashed away somewhere, by all great authors.
Nothing intrigues me more.
The literary world, and indeed social media are buzzing about this news the last few days. I don’t know what to think and I hate that feeling.
So often the publishing business is about the bottom line, about making money.
As a lover of books and of stories, I like to frame it in a more romantic way than that.
These days, with the internet, articles are everywhere and the views are divided. This wasn’t quite as easily the case when Lee published her hit novel fifty years ago.
I hate to believe the ones who claim Harper Lee is senile and unable to make her wishes known, now being taken advantage of by greedy lawyers and book publishers.
The problem is that she has been so reclusive, all these years, hiding away from media and turning down interviews, leaving the suspicion door left open…at least, in my own mind.
True, it’s only left open even a little bit of a crack and that’s all it takes.
She has lost her sister and trusted confidant. Who does she really have left, who has her best interests at heart now?
I wish, like so many others I am sure, that I could speak with the woman herself. I would ask her what she wants and if this was her choice.
Sadly, this will not happen. I can show my enthusiasm, and yet, I still hold onto that little snippet of doubt I feel.
She had a stroke and is now deaf and blind. How much so is up for interpretation of course, but she has to have people around her, even a few. When do you believe and listen to statements and press reports?
This whole thing is nagging at me. I try not to believe everything I read and I try to keep my scepticism in check.
This novel is said to have been written five years before the novel we are all so familiar with. It is going to be a sequel to TKAM and this is definitely an intriguing thought.
Scout and Atticus are two of my favourite characters in all literature. They are the father-daughter duo I love to watch brought to life in the 1962 film.
I am excited to read about how they relate to one another after the passing years since the events from Mockingbird.
I would hate to think all this craziness and the already growing pre-orders for this now highly anticipated novel on Amazon were at the detriment and at the expense of Lee, wherever and however she is, because no amount of money is worth that.
Maybe she is in full control of this and was just as thrilled as any of us that this old manuscript was discovered.
Maybe that is hopeful, romantic, and naive of me to believe that.
Next week I will write about the subject of compassion, so strongly found at the centre of “To Kill A Mockingbird” as it applies to the blogging movement I am participating in at the moment.
How do you feel about “To Kill A Mockingbird”?
What are your thoughts on this week’s news? Do you choose to hold an optimistic view that Lee made the decision to release this new book?
Or do you have your doubts?