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Go Set a Watchman, A New Book From…. Harper Lee!

Five years ago we put together a feature called “To Kill A Mockingbird and Other Literary One-Hit Wonders“. As it had been 50 years since the publication of her classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird, and Lee, in her 80s, seemed to want nothing more than for people to stop badgering her, we felt it was a safe assertion.

Happily, wonderfully, delightfully, we were wrong, and if it weren’t for the fact that it is February 3rd, and not April 1st, I wouldn’t believe it. News reports this morning are all in agreement – Harper Lee is publishing a new book. The novel, titled Go Set a Watchman, was actually completed in the mid-1950s, and while it will be Lee’s second book, and will act as a sequel to Mockingbird, it was in fact completed first. The book is about an adult woman named Jean Louise, who has left her home in New York to return to her childhood home of Maycomb, Alabama to see her father. Lee’s editor read the story, 60 years ago, and convinced her to write a prequel about the childhood of the character. That book became Mockingbird, and Go Set a Watchman was forgotten. Lee herself was unaware that any copies of the manuscript had survived.

While Lee, now 88 and very private, is unlikely to do much publicity to promote the book, something tell me it will also not be necessary – the book is being published in its original state, as Lee wrote it, with no revisions – and the initial print run will be two million copies.

Go Set a Watchman is due for publication in the U.S. on July 14th by HarperCollins.

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