Sunday, July 12, 2015

First Chapter of Harper Lee's Second Novel Was Published Last Week

I read that Harper Lee "dropped a bomb shell" in the first chapter of her novel, "Go Set a Watchman". When I read it at The Guardian, I didn't see a bombshell or an impact crater.  Don't worry, no spoilers here about what I assume that bomb was supposed to be but, really, it seems plausible enough to me. 

I will certainly read the book when it comes out,  It's too bad she didn't have more novels, stories, etc. locked away somewhere.   I heard that there were people so upset about her publishing the novel that they tried to stop it through legal action claiming she was forced to do it against her will.  Which has to be about the most bizarre thing I've heard this week, and you can't look around the internet without hearing loads of bizarre things.   

If you go to The Guarding to read it, you might want to turn off the sound, I found that incredibly annoying and distracting.  I don't know whose idea it was but it was a really bad one. 


  1. Turns out her brother died young, as an adult in his 30's(?). So no surprise Jem dies.

  2. The new bombshell is that Atticus, who grew up in the Deep South in the late 19th/early 20th century, attended a Klan meeting and was a "racist."

    Next we'll be shocked to learn he enjoyed fried catfish and hush puppies.

    Even Harper Lee criticized the "Freedom Riders" for stirring things up in Alabama and the South. She thought the people of Alabama should be left alone to resolve their racial difficulties.

    Not that they were going to, anymore than the town I grew up in was going to desegregate schools without a federal court order. Doesn't mean she was a bad person, though.

    I'm starting to look forward to this new book.

  3. Adding a bit more: apparently Atticus reacts to Brown v Board with outrage that it will upset the apple cart he's grown up with (remember "Mockingbird" is set during the Depression, and "Watchmen" is set at least post-'54; twenty+ years later, IOW).

    Which fits in with people I grew up with in the South, especially as Brown was applied to our city (the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts, by contrast, had little immediate impact, and nothing so serious as integrating schools). From what I've read of Atticus' reaction to Brown, it fits with the people I knew, reacting to desegregation when it finally got to us in the early '70's.

    So it's funny that it's upsetting people. Except this is America, and the first thing we forget, is history....

  4. Today I read a "third" novel may have been discovered among Harper Lee's papers. And the comments (it was on the web, everyone has to have a comment!) were skeptical that it wasn't known earlier, sure the lawyer (for the estate this time) was greedy and money-grubbing and how did no one know this "third novel" was in with the "second" (or first; no one seems quite sure of the chronology).

    Morons and pinheads. Do they imagine a writer types a story and it is bound and becomes a novel at once? What the estate's lawyer had is access to papers: could have been recipes, unsent letters, essays, unfinished short stories, bad poetry, who knows what? A complete novel is a long and complex beast; it could be what is in the papers was incomplete, was many starts at many novels, none ever finished. Writers don't bind their efforts in neat covers and tell you "Here, this is a novel. That isn't." You have to (quelle horreurs, especially in this day of "TL;DR") READ those pages! Hell, they may not even be in order.

    When the manuscript for Beowulf was discovered in a British library in the 19th century, no one knew what it was UNTIL SOMEONE READ IT! It didn't have a neat title "Beowulf, a previously unkonwn English Epic poem contained on the following 50 pages."

    Honestly, all the internet has done is expose how stupid most people are, and how stupid they willfully remain.