The claim, in a statement attributed to Harper Lee, goes something like this. In the 1950s, Lee wrote a novel set in the present about Scout, Atticus Finch, and many of her other famous characters. She then set that aside and wrote what amounted to a prequel set in the 1930s–“To Kill a Mockingbird.” Sixty years later, the original novel was found by somebody after everyone, including Lee, though that the manuscript was lost.
I find this all rather hard to believe. First of all, Lee is nearly 90 years old, suffered a stroke in 2007, and lives in a nursing home. Thus, I wonder to what extent any statement can be attributed to her. Second, it’s an interesting coincidence that this novel was “found” not long after Lee’s sister, an attorney who acted as her advisor for decades, passed away. Third, exactly where was this manuscript found? In somebody’s attic? In the same place where the “The Hitler Diaries” came from?
A fortune stands to be made from a sequel to one the most beloved books of all time. Before it is published, I think someone should make sure that this is a genuine manuscript and that Lee is competent to make a decision to publish. For all I know, this novel is something that she’s had all along and did not want to publish, but now that she cannot speak for herself another party (an attorney, an agent, etc.) wants to take unfair advantage of her fame.