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Are sequels ever better?

by: Romany Howes (4 February 2015)

Harper Lee is publishing a new novel, over half a century after her epic tome, To Kill a Mockingbird. Rarely has a book been so eagerly anticipated, perhaps - not since the years of the Harry Potter series - but the novel, Go Set a Watchman, was actually written 55 years ago.

The sequel - or actually prequel - as it was written years before the famous novel, and rejected by publishers at the time, is raising concerns. If it wasn’t good enough the first time around, will it reach the same standards of literacy and storytelling that we experienced in the classic book? Originally the manuscript was rejected and believed lost but the publisher saw potential in the main character, Scout, and so Lee wrote another novel based on her and the rest is history.

Lee admits her first effort was a challenge and said: “My editor, who was taken by the flashbacks to Scout’s childhood, persuaded me to write a novel from the point of view of the young Scout. I was a first-time writer, so I did as I was told.” However, according to a report in The Guardian, “the editors at JB Lippincott were impressed, but found the book patchy and awkwardly structured”.

This is only the second novel from this author, who is now 88 years old. Is there an argument to say that perhaps she should leave her legacy as the brilliant and iconic debut novel? Or at least make sure that the editors, publishers and proofreaders eliminate the incidences of patchiness and awkward structure allegedly in Go Set a Watchman!


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Ref: 152 Still, it would be interesting to read, I think.
Marilyn - 11:16 05-02-2015
Ref: 151 One piece of genius selling worldwide for over 50 years...I'd settle for that!
Romany - 10:05 05-02-2015

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