Nelle Harper Lee, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of To Kill a Mockingbird, died in her sleep on February 19 in her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama. She was 89.
Lee is literary royalty.
“All I want to be,” she said a long time ago, “is the Jane Austen of South Alabama.”
It would seem that she far exceeded her goal.
I will cherish some memories about Lee and her work, but I won’t remember her for Go Set a Watchman, a lost-and-found manuscript from 1957 that was published as Lee’s second novel a year ago. I haven’t read Go Set a Watchman. I doubt that I will. It strikes me as an opportunistic publishing episode that should not have happened.
And yet, it’s not a blemish on Lee’s legacy. Not for me. Instead of reading “Watchman,” I’ll just read “Mockingbird” again. There will be many others who do the same.