Nelle_Harper_Lee

Go Set A Watchman – The Title on Everyone’s Lips

It is 1956. A ticket agent for the British Overseas Airways Corporation decides to spend Christmas in New York with her friends, a successful, wealthy couple. As a Christmas present she receives the equivalent of one year’s salary to take time off and dedicate herself to her writing. She takes that time to write To Kill a Mockingbird, one of the most popular books of all time. After that, scared by the unexpected success of her book, and having given her best to the literary world, Harper Lee retires from the world of literature.

Fast forward 59 years and we arrive at the announcement of another literary sensation signed by Harper Lee: Go Set a Watchman, the sequel to the beloved To Kill a Mockingbird. The book depicts the life of Scout, Atticus’ daughter, who returns home to visit her father. Even though the plot is set after To Kill a Mockingbird, it was originally written before. The manuscript was believed to be lost until three months ago when the writer’s attorney, Tonja Carter found it.

The news of a new book by the acclaimed author, 55 years after the publication of To Kill a Mockingbird has created different reactions among fans and book editors alike. Some are thrilled and eager to read the new book. Others have shown suspicion regarding the circumstances in which the book is being published, despite the fact that the author herself seems to have agreed to it. The release of the book comes 3 months after the death of the author’s sister, Alice Lee, who was both her lawyer and the person who protected her from the public eye. Harper Lee herself is partially deaf and blind, as a result of her last stroke, and lives in a hospice. In addition, Lee is known for having undertaken a series of lawsuits on the grounds that people have taken advantage of her poor health to make her sign important documents (one of them concerning the copyright of To Kill a Mockingbird). The lawsuits have been settled out of court. If we consider these facts with the writer’s almost life long absence from the public eye, and her lack of desire to publish any other novels, it is understandable that there are people who question the morality of publishing Go Set a Watchman.

Given the circumstances it seems like the readers will have to choose between overcoming their suspicion and reading the sequel to a beloved and popular classic, or following their moral compass and avoid reading it.

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