Harper Lee Ever After

Remember a few posts back how I was all like hey check out these new books from great writers? In what is possibly the book news of the century (so far), Harper Lee, author of the famously one-hit-wondrous classic To Kill a Mockingbird, is PUBLISHING A NEW NOVEL. This is big. Huge. It's the literary equivalent of finding a new planet in our solar system. Or finding out your grandmother is having a baby. 

It's fifty-five years since Mockingbird was published and it's hard to think of a more prodigious American novel. It's the book you read at school that you still reread. It's the book that taught you what justice means, or courage, or kindness. For two or three generations now it's been an iconic exposition of evil and good in their most human forms. So it's hard to imagine a sequel of the same magnitude. But this is not a sequel: it's a draft she wrote in the 1950s about Scout Finch as an adult, out of which the other novel grew. Of course it's doubtful whether Go Set A Watchman, due out in July, can possibly meet expectation, and given that she wrote it first it may suffer from some of the gaucherie miraculously missing from what we'd assumed was her first and only novel. Nevertheless its status as literary curiosity, a second wonder, will override any flaws. And maybe it will be just as wonderful as its predecessor. Either way, it feels like the kind of astronomical marvel that might happen only once in a century, if at all. I'm excited.