Yesterday, after 99 pages, I told her, "Well, It's not 'To Kill a Mockingbird,' and not as serious. It's a good story, some good humor in conversations, but no drama, yet."
Then I picked it up again in the afternoon, turned the page to a new chapter, and like Scout, was jolted.
Reading some more this morning, on the back porch, where wrens and cardinals and robins flitted around the feeder and lawn, I found peace, prose and insight that fits even today, especially in light of those Oklahoma racists waving flags in President Obama's face this past week.
Here's one small excerpt:
"...in terms of a recurring story as old as time: the chapter which concerned her began two hundred years ago and was played out in a proud society the bloodiest war and harshest peace in modern history could not destroy, returning, to be played out again on private ground in the twilight of a civilization no wars and no peace could save."Don't try to compare it with "Mockingbird," which is mythic, but you and everyone will. It is a sort of sequel, set 20 years later. Even the covers are similar, which is symbolic. I'd just say, "Childhood is gone." Of course the new book has critics. So?
But it is Harper Lee's beautiful writing and story telling, and in addition to the reality of racism, there is humor, grace, insight and depth to the characters and into 1950s America, and to 2015, apparently, as well.