In case you haven't heard, Harper Lee will publish her second novel—the first since her 1960 Pulitzer Prize-winning debut "To Kill a Mockingbird"—on July 14. The book, "Go Set a Watchman," was actually written before "To Kill a Mockingbird" and is centered around the same main character, Scout, returning to her hometown as an adult. Lee's editor at the time suggested she turn flashback scenes from "Go Set a Watchman" into a book of their own—and "To Kill a Mockingbird" was born.
That original manuscript was recently "rediscovered" by attorney and family friend Tonja Carter, the BBC reports
. The famously reclusive (we're talking J.D. Salinger-level
) author is not likely to do any press for the book, but probably wouldn't be in any condition to even if she desired it. The 88-year-old author has lived in a nursing home since having a stroke, and reportedly has trouble seeing and hearing. Her comments regarding the book were released in a statement from her publisher
, Harper Collins.
"In the mid-1950s, I completed a novel called Go Set a Watchman," Lee said in the statement. "It features the character known as Scout as an adult woman and I thought it a pretty decent effort. My editor, who was taken by the flashbacks to Scout's childhood, persuaded me to write a novel from the point of view of the young Scout. I was a first-time writer, so I did as I was told. I hadn't realized it had survived, so was surprised and delighted when my dear friend and lawyer Tonja Carter discovered it. After much thought and hesitation I shared it with a handful of people I trust and was pleased to hear that they considered it worthy of publication. I am humbled and amazed that this will now be published after all these years."
According to the press release from Harper Collins, the "new" book in set in the mid-1950s, about two decades after "To Kill a Mockingbird:"
Scout (Jean Louise Finch) has returned to Maycomb from New York to visit her father, Atticus. She 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.
The publisher plans to print an initial run of 2 million copies.
Are you excited about the new book? What personal and political issues do you think Scout is grappling with?