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Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Is the release of 'Go Set a Watchman' really what Harper Lee wants?

It has been announced today that a sequel to the much loved 'To Kill a Mockingbird' will be released 55 years after the popular novel. However some of the circumstances seem to be a little questionable.

For one, a source has revealed to The New York Times that although the book takes place 20 years after the first novel, it was actually written first. This may not seem too suspicious but considering that the announcement of this release has come three months after the death of her sister Alice Lee, who was her lawyer and advocate for decades and who has fiercely protected her wishes to remain private and impervious to unwanted outside attention, it appears to be an unlikely coincidence that the novel has been revealed now. 

Additionally after a stroke in 2007 the 88 year old author is nearly completely deaf, has lost 95% of her vision and suffers from memory loss as well as being partially paralysed and confined to a wheelchair, her attorney Tonja Carter, Alice Lee's successor, revealed. According to an article from Gawker back in July "Lee has a history of signing whatever's put in front of her, apparently sometimes with Carter's advice".  This information seems to imply an apparent case of exploitation of a person that's not fully mentally fit. 

It was only back in 2007 that is was alleged that Samuel Pinkus, the son-in-law of Lee's former literary agent, took advantage of her by manipulating her to transfer the ownership of the copyright of her best selling, 1960 novel to her agent. 

With stories of previous exploits of Miss Lee it seems somewhat alarming that the sequel has been announced for release when it has. Whilst I am thrilled to hear of a sequel and intrigued to discover what the Finch's life following the trial has been like, there's something unsettling about the circumstances surrounding the release.