3 Feb 2015

Harper Lee’s new novel – the best responses

For decades, she has been considered a one-book author. So Harper Lee’s announcement that her second novel, Go Set a Watchman, will be published soon has caused a stir.

The mood was summed up by Tom Weldon, chief executive of Penguin Random House, in his appraisal of her famous book, To Kill a Mockingbird, which was written after Go Set a Watchman but published in 1960.

He said it was “no surprise that time and again it is voted best loved by both the reading public and by educators. The story of this first book – both parent to To Kill a Mockingbird and rather wonderfully acting as its sequel – is fascinating”.

Read more: To Kill a Mockingbird author Lee to publish new novel

Elsewhere in the publishing world, there was shock.

Among writers and journalists there were jokes about Ms Lee’s tardiness and the quality of her prose.

Author Caitlin Moran compared it to David Bowie’s surprise decision to release a new single in 2013 and Kate Bush’s return to the stage in 2014.

Former Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan showed he has lost none of his tabloid sparkle with this gem.

There were allusions to Ms Lee’s status as an author studied by generations of children in schools in the US and Britain.

And surely this cannot be true? It is.