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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Harper Lee's Second To Kill A Mockingbird

Way back when I was trying to get a blurb from Harper Lee for my second novel, Tobacco Sticks. There was a man named Roy who answered the phone. I have put the book on Ms. Lee's beside table but I cant guarantee she will read it, he said. This went on for months. I would call and Roy would say. Well Ms. Lee is working her way through the stack. She never got to Tobacco Sticks. But of course I know now what she was doing. Writing another novel.

Go Set A Watchman. That is the title of Harper Lees second novel due out in July that predates her first To Kill A Mockingbird. Apparently this one didn't work out and the publisher prodded her into writing Mockingbird. The novel has now surfaced and coming our way in July. Who could  not be excited when the world had decided Harper Lee would be the ultimate one hit wonder along with JD Salinger and Margaret Mitchell. One smash masterpiece and game over.

But of course the world is complicated. Michael Jordan doesn't retire when he should. We live in a world of sequels and for whatever reason Miss. Lee has decided to put this very old manuscript. We have all loved Mockingbird and yes this book will not measure up. How could it? And then of course there is the old just be happy to have another Harper Lee book. I am good with that but then there are those Hemingway manuscripts.

Several books have followed his death and none of them have even been close to the books he put out when he was alive. Writers know which books are good and which ones don't work. Light in Africa and Islands in the Stream are poor substitutes for A Farewell To Arms and  For Whom The Bell Tolls. But again the manuscripts are there so why not bring them out.

So I will read it. Along with the millions. My only question is... did Harper Lee ever get to the bottom of her stack and read Tobacco Sticks?  Come to think of it, I wonder if Roy was lying to me.
Tobacco Sticks
The Pitcher

Books by William Hazelgrove