Imagine your favorite band has released one album. You hurriedly anticipate their next release, but it is never made. The overwhelming desire to hear more music is almost too much to bear; their one incredible collection just leaves you wanting more.
Then, years later, they announce a new album. You will get the chance to listen and immerse yourself in the art that they have created.
Many people felt this kind of connection with novelist Harper Lee and her work To Kill a Mockingbird. They wanted to read more from the beloved author, and this year, Lee will grant their wish.
Lee announced earlier this month that she will release a new novel entitled Go Set a Watchman, her first book since 1960.
Rick Bragg, a Pulitzer Prize winning author and Harper Lee enthusiast, was filled with excitement when he learned that Lee had announced a new release.
“It was like a kid finding another piece of candy in the candy jar,” Bragg said.
To Kill a Mockingbird, which won The Pulitzer Prize in 1961, told the story of a small town in Alabama that struggled with the difficulty of moral injustice. The novel is set in the heart of Alabama, where racial inequality ruled society. The characters in the novel wrestle with what is socially and morally acceptable.
For many, the news that Harper Lee announced a new releases was shocking many Lee’s millions of fans did not know that another novel existed. Only those close to her knew that Lee had written something other than To Kill a Mockingbird. Lee wrote the actual manuscript of the story before To Kill a Mockingbird, which, until earlier this year, many believed to be lost.
Freshman English Major and Honors College student, Keeley McMurray, is anticipating the new release because of the rich history of Lee and her work.
“I am very excited for another release from Harper Lee, “ McMurray said. “I believe she is one of the most beloved authors in American history.”
Lee’s writing shows her dedication to her ways and heritage, which is a major them in her first novel. Lee is set on her ways, a characteristic conveyed by her writing. In a 1996 personal letter to Mark Mayfield, now editorial advisor and associate director of the UA Office of Student Media, Lee shows that she has not let even technology change her, writing the note on a typewriter.
“My Olivetti will be buried with me,” Lee said.
Lee’s dedication to her ways and roots will most likely be continued in her new release. The title, Go Set a Watchman, comes from the bible verse Isaiah 21:6, and refers to Atticus Finch, who is believed to be the “watchman” of the Maycomb, Alabama, where her first novel was set.
The new novel follows Scout, now an adult, as she travels back to Maycomb from New York City. The novel will primarily focus on Scout’s struggle to accept the views of her father, Atticus, according to ABC News.
The 304-page book will be released through the company Harper, a subset of HarperCollins, and is expected to release more than one million copies worldwide. The novel will be available in most major bookstores across the country. The shocking announcement of the novel will most likely lead to high numbers in sales.
For many, the novel will provide another chance to read about time where our nation was in conflict. Lee set her novel in the hotbed of racism and challenged the reader to think differently. The ability to challenge the reader gained Lee critical acclaim. With the new book being set in the same environment, many believe Lee will once again challenge the reader to be open minded and think differently.
“The book to read is not the one that thinks for you, but the one which makes you think,” Lee once said.