Harper Lee Might Have Another Novel We Probably Shouldn't Read

"Go Set a Watchman," the long-lost follow-up to Harper Lee's classic "To Kill a Mockingbird," doesn’t come out until Tuesday, but the news is already a flurry of headlines about yet another possible Lee novel out there, in the same mysterious safe-deposit box in Alabama where Watchman's pages were found — although the details of the discovery are still unclear — and appraised by a Sotheby’s rare-books expert.

"Was it an earlier draft of Watchman, or of Mockingbird, or even, as early correspondence indicates it might be, a third book bridging the two? I don't know," Tonja Carter, Lee’s lawyer, wrote in The Wall Street Journal.


Then The New York Times looked into the blurry discovery of the manuscript, which Carter appears to be attempting to set the record straight with her piece in the Journal. Another piece profiled the editor who took Lee's first draft, which was "Go Set a Watchman," and sent back edits and changes that Lee then crafted into her masterpiece. It’s the job of an editor to take a draft and make it shine, and I think most writers would agree that they would prefer to keep those drafts locked away from the world, too.

Any hints of yet another book hiding in those discarded pages seems like a reach, one that won't bring any enlightenment to an already perfect book. The fact that the pages were discovered in a safe-deposit box in a bank, as if stashed like family gems for when times get tough, gives you a sense of how these lawyers, agents, and appraisers are thinking about the findings.

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