Harper Lee, who wrote one of America’s most enduring literary classics, “To Kill a Mockingbird,” about a child’s view of right and wrong and waited 55 years to publish a second book with the same characters from a very different point of view, has died at the age of 89.
Mary Jackson, the city clerk in Lee’s hometown of Monroeville, Alabama, confirmed to Reuters by phone that Lee had died.
For decades it was thought Lee would never follow up “To Kill a Mockingbird” and the July 2015 publication of “Go Set a Watchman” was a surprising literary event – as well as a shock for devotees of “Mockingbird.”
In the first book, Atticus Finch was the adored father of the young narrator Scout and a lawyer who nobly but unsuccessfully defended a black man unjustly accused of raping a white woman. But in “Watchman,” an older Atticus had racial views that left the grown-up Scout greatly disillusioned.
Lee reportedly had written “Go Set a Watchman” first but, at the suggestion of a wise editor, set it aside to tell a tale of race in the South from the child’s point of view in the 1930s.