Do You Feel Lucky?

(and feel free to comment! My older posts are certainly no less relevant to the burning concerns of the day.)

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Harper Lee's Go Set a Watchman. Anybody Read This?

Has anybody picked up Harper Lee's new (!) novel? Relatively new anyway, it came out July 2015. Go Set a Watchman, it appears to be called. It's set in the same fictional universe as the movie Watchmen, and carries on the action about twenty years later when erstwhile team leader The Finch, long since retired to a position of prominence as an eminence gris in the superhero community, has to deal with the return of his disenchanted and equally erstwhile starry-eyed sidekick Scout Girl. I won't spoil it as to whether mysterious figure of fear Doctor Boo, from the first one, makes an appearance.

No I'm just fucking around! Apparently most of this book comes from a novel Lee wrote before To Kill A Mockingbird, out of which Mockingbird evolved. The editors liked the vividity of the flashback sequences from Scout's youth. Lee ended up expanding that part of the story into Mockingbird, and reworked Watchman for separate publication. Initially a trilogy had been planned, but when George Lucas got involved and insisted on the insertion of ideas about Jem "bringing balance to the Force," Lee became disillusioned, and abandoned plans for further release. The manuscript was believed lost until somebody found it.

Some people are pretty uptight about the release of this book. They see it as a case of a poor, confused elderly person being hoodwinked and manipulated into releasing work she wouldn't have wanted to. Other people are saying they interviewed her and that's not at all the case. Reviewers seem to think the book itself is a bit underdone to say the least.


Anybody here a big fan of Mockingbird? Any thoughts on this one? Have you read it? What do you think? I should shut up and let someone who has read both (or even either) of these books comment.

In any case, the emergence of this long-obscured work from its long obscurity, the storied story of its murky and convoluted origins, and - especially given the prominence of the earlier released work and its status as the author's only published novel, plus the fact Lee had declared a number of times that it would remain so - it's kind of a weird, unexpected sort of treat for Harper Lee fans isn't it? Or something?


Resonating Sound said...

I love To Kill a Mockingbird. It is a great story with quite a bit of current relevance. I plan on reading the other at some point. I do not expect to love it or be disappointed by it. Art is in the eye of the beholder and I will decide how I feel once I have beheld it. If I get to it before you do, I'll share my opinion.

dogimo said...

Please do, if you do!