Go Set a Watchman

I confess, I had a difficult time figuring out what to do with the news of Harper Lee’s new publication. When I got home this afternoon, I tweeted a nice message of support for a local band whose new CD is just pressed–we got our copy through the slot today. The music’s great, and the writer/singer/strummer is a friend and former neighbour. Tweeting support was absolutely the right thing to do.

Except I then decided to figure out why people on my feed were talking about “savages” and “Jordanian”, and after a click or two, my cheery tweet seemed somewhat out of place. Twitter is, of course, that cheek-by-jowl blend of grotesque, mundane, inane, and clever. But it felt odd.

So aside this, I see the news about the sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird, and I feel like I’m being told one of those stories about how Grandma got on the roof. Or like Kramer: I’m flippin, I’m floppin, what am I gonna do?

A couple of hours later, after the kids are abed, I look more into the Harper Lee story. We need good news, right? And the news is all good, as seen in this story from the Guardian… right until the comments from Dr. Ian Patterson from Cambridge University (otherwise known as the University of Cambridge) who was reportedly “underwhelmed by the news.” Dr. Patterson gives it the right smug academic snub, deriding Lee’s first published work as “a soggy sentimental liberal novel if ever there was one.” He doubts, it seems, the lasting power or artistic worth of the unearthed treasure that is about to dazzle all the bestseller lists. Continue reading