At first I was elated to learn that author Harper Lee of To Kill a Mockingbird fame had written another novel and squirreled it away. Mockingbird was originally published in 1960 in the genre of a Southern Gothic novel. It won the Pulitzer Prize for its portrayal of rape, racial inequality, and patriarch Atticus Finch’s stoic determination to address both and do right in a Southern town.
Since then, Lee has been reclusive, but now there is flurry about a second work featuring Scout, Atticus’s daughter in Mockingbird, returning as an adult to the locale of the original book.
As I said, I was elated at first. But I’ve been delving into this story in the Internet and have begun to wonder if it’s as clean-cut. Ms. Lee is now eighty-eight years old and lives in an assisted living facility. According to some reports, she is “increasingly blind and deaf. According to others, she is still sharp. Both assessments could be accurate.
The publishing world is also divided. Some say Harper Collins should publish the manuscript; others don’t think so. The latter are concerned that Ms. Lee’s wishes are not really being considered in the face of a literary and financial windfall.
The question comes down to “Does Ms. Lee have control of the situation or are others manipulating it?”
I’m not as elated as I was before.