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If you haven't heard already, the incredible Harper Lee, author of To Kill a Mockingbird, is releasing a new novel called Go Set a Watchman on July 14, 2015. The novel follows Scout Finch as an adult, who travels back to Maycomb, Alabama from New York. According to the publisher, Scout "is forced to grapple with issues both personal and political as she tries to understand her father's attitude toward society and her own feelings about the place where she was born and spent her childhood."
What's interesting about the release of this novel is Harper Lee wrote it before she wrote To Kill a Mockingbird. To Kill a Mockingbird was inspired by Go Set a Watchman. Because Harper Lee was reclusive to being in the limelight, there was a collective backlash of well meaning fans that suggested she was not mentally capable of authorizing the release of Go Set a Watchman. They were under the impression that since Alice Lee (Harper's sister/ protector) had passed, Harper was vulnerable to vultures that were only interested in taking advantage of her for monetary gain.
The suggestion of Ms. Lee being incapable of making the decision to publish Go Set a Watchman carried enough momentum that the State of Alabama launched an official inquiry. It was suggested that after Ms. Lee suffered a stroke in 2007 that resulted in severe hearing and vision problems, she may not be lucid enough to authorize the publication of her earlier novel.
Fortunately for us fans, Alabama officials determined everything was on the up and up. Ms. Lee's lawyer, Tonja Carter, said Harper was excited about the release of the novel - the manuscript was previously thought to be lost.
Unfortunately, due to the author's desired seclusion and closed social circle, those of us that are fans of the author can only accept the truth that we receive second-hand. I think what is important is we respect Harper Lee's privacy, appreciate her as the phenomenal author that brought us To Kill a Mockingbird, and graciously accept the gift that is Go Set a Watchman.
Go Set a Watchman is now available for pre-order. The scheduled release date is July 14, 2015.