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Harper Lee’s Lawyer’s Discovery of “Go Set a Watchman”
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harper lee's second novel

Summary: Harper Lee’s lawyer explains how she discovered the author’s second novel.

It is somehow fitting that a lawyer is bringing to light the second book of Harper Lee, author of the famous “To Kill a Mockingbird.” After all, that perennial favorite has often inspired students to study law and fight for justice. How Tonja Carter, lawyer for Harper Lee and longtime associate, came to play this role is a little mysterious.


She attended a meeting in 2011 in which the book, “Go Set a Watchman,” was mentioned, but left before hearing about it. She didn’t catch wind that Lee had another novel until attending a family gathering for the author. “Someone mentioned having read or heard an interview where Nell was quoted as saying she had written a second novel.”

Upon that provocation, Carter returned to Ms. Lee’s safe-deposit box in Monroeville, Ala. and discovered the manuscript for “Watchman.” It is slated to be published on July 14.

Some controversy arose whether Ms. Lee was of sound mind to allow this to happen, but authorities agreed she was after investigating the matter.

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“Watchman” was Lee’s first novel, initially rejected by an editor, sent back for rewrites, but replaced, finally, by “Mockingbird.” The star lawyer of the latter, Atticus Finch, was portrayed as a segregationist in “Watchman,” according to reviewers.

Whether the second novel can stand on its own, or claims fame only in relationship to the first novel, will be clear after it is published.

News Source: Wall Street Journal


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