Just when you thought the controversy surrounding Harper Lee was dying down, The New York Times has dropped a new bombshell.
The New York Times has unearthed evidence that casts doubt on the version of events that Lee’s lawyer, Tonja B. Carter, has presented. It seems that the manuscript of Go Set a Watchman, the much-anticipated sequel to Lee’s famous To Kill a Mockingbird, may have been discovered earlier than Carter is letting on.
According to Carter, the manuscript was discovered just about a year ago. In August, she said, she set out to review an old typescript of To Kill a Mockingbird – and instead found Go Set a Watchman, a new novel featuring the same characters as the original classic.
Contrary to this story, The New York Times has discovered that the famous London auction house Sotheby’s may have found the book back in 2011 – while Carter was present. According to the newspaper’s sources, the manuscript for Go Set a Watchman was found when Sotheby’s sent a rare books expert to review an old To Kill a Mockingbird manuscript. During the process, they unearthed a copy of the new story.
When confronted with this version of events, Carter claimed that she was sent from the room on an errand before the manuscript was discovered. Sotheby’s and their rare books expert, however, insist that she was present.
The new timeline adds credence to those who question Carter’s motives. Some critics have suggested that Alice Lee, Harper Lee’s sister and longtime caretaker, would not have approved of the publication of Go Set a Watchman. Alice Lee was ill at the time of Carter’s 2014 discovery, and had passed away by the time that the new publication deal was announced. Back in 2011 – when Sotheby’s discovered the manuscript, but no publication deals were made – Alice Lee was very much still involved in her sister’s affairs.
Image courtesy of The Boston Globe