Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Is it just me...?

Harper Lee & 'Scout' (Helios Gallery).
I really want to get excited about this, but something feels off....

You've all seen the news by now I'm sure.

Here it is in Australia

The US

And the UK.

Is it a sequel? A prequel? A first novel or second?

Should we be delighted that they have suddenly found a story about an adult Scout? Or is To Kill A Mockingbird simply too hard to top?

Given Lee's advanced age, deteriorating health, & the recent death of her lawyer & sister, is this a good decision, made for all the right reasons?

To Kill A Mockingbird is one of my all time favourite books. Will this mess with my memory of it? Will it affect how I experience subsequent rereads?

Will a sequel/prequel tarnish or enhance this masterpiece of modern literature?

What do you think?

Am I simply being too suspicious? A doubting Thomas?

What would Atticus advise right now?

18 comments:

  1. I had much the same reaction. I only read To Kill A Mockingbird last year and it immediately became one of my favourite books - I thought it was fantastic. I'm never keen on prequel/sequels even if they are written by the same author, so I'm reluctant to read Go Set a Watchman - but I expect I'll give in eventually!

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    1. Don't get me wrong - I'll be reading it asap too. I'm very curious to see what an adult Scout story looks like :-)

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  2. I know! It's exciting and daunting....

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  3. When I first heard the news, I was excited. But after thinking about it for a while, I've become a little less enthusiastic. I actually don't really want to know more about Scout and her family. Mockingbird in my mind is nearly perfect, and I want to preserve that. So, like you, I am regarding these news with suspicion and will wait and see how Watchman is received before I decide whether I am going to read it or not.

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    1. I'll probably read it fairly quickly, esp as I work in a bookshop (we're already take pre-orders for its July release!)

      Since it sounds like Lee wrote GSAW prior to TKAM I'm okay about the 'purity' or integrity of the story. I just get a little suspicious when things are 'suddenly' found.

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  4. She wrote it shortly after writing Mockingbird, at least most of it. I'm actually pretty excited. I think it is a sequel.

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    1. From what I've read it's a sequel to TKAM but she actually wrote it before TKAM.

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  5. I understand your suspicions - and I am nervous too - though I have pre-ordered the book. I have a blog post coming out tomorrow about this and other stories behind stories - it is very hard to know exactly what to believe. I think I shall wait and let the book tell its own story.

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    1. Yes, I will be reading it asap too :-)

      Knowing she wrote it before TKAM makes it seem a little like a first draft or a writing exercise where you are asked to write the same story from different perspectives....

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  6. I had the same reaction. I hope it will turn out well, but I'm worried it won't live up to To Kill a Mockingbird. I guess we'll see...

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    1. I guess I'm not expecting it to live up to TKAM. The publishers didn't accept it initially because it wasn't quite right/didn't fit the market etc.
      I suspect it will be a little like reading the last unfinished stories of Jane Austen's...hints of greatness to come if allowed to develop it. The goos thing about GSAW is that we know that Lee did in fact get a chance to develop it and get it right :-)

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  7. I also had a similar reaction to the news. At first I was excited, but now I'm not so sure what I think. I'm sure I'll read the book, but I admit I'm sort of afraid to do so lest it mess with my views of To Kill a Mockingbird.

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  8. It makes me nervous too. I really want it to be a wonderful new book from the author, but it's hard to believe after all these years that it just appeared. Fingers crossed that nothing shady happened.

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    1. That's the part I struggle with the most too Melissa.
      The lawyer who 'discovered' it was from the same firm that Alice Lee was a partner in for decades, so one would hope that they are of the same ilk.
      Perhaps if they come out with the specific details of how the maunscript was discovered, I will feel appeased and relieved.

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    2. Adam @roofbeamreader has now provided some details on how the original manuscript was discovered which has allayed some of my fears.
      Apparently the lawyer was looking for the original manuscript of TKAM in their archives & came across GSAW instead.
      Which also means that I'm starting to feel excited now!

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  9. I am very excited, but at the same time, terrified! I feel like there's certain books that when they end, they just need to end. To Kill.. is one of those books, but I am hopeful too. We shall see.

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  10. Definitely Doubting Thomas! ;) Huh...well, I'm just purely excited. I'm thinking this demands a day off work to read it on the day of release! I am so very curious. I'm pretty sure it's a sequel. :)

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    1. Every time I allow myself to get a little excited, I read another report about how unwell Lee really is and that people can only gain access to Lee through her lawyer (who is the one who discovered the manuscript) and I feel concerned again.

      Yes, GSAW is a sequel, but she wrote it before TKAM. The publisher at the time didn't think it worked very well, so asked Lee to try again using a young Scout's voice to narrate the story. TKAM was born from that.

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