NEW YORK, Feb 5 (Reuters) - The 88-year-old author of “To Kill a Mockingbird” is “happy as hell” with the reactions to her decision to publish a second novel, her lawyer said on Thursday in answer to concerns about the reclusive author’s mental and physical state.
Publisher Harper said on Tuesday that Harper Lee would release the novel “Go Set a Watchman,” written in the 1950s and featuring lead characters from her 1960 first novel “To Kill a Mockingbird,” which had for 55 years been a classic without an encore.
A statement from Lee’s attorney, Tonja Carter, followed publicly aired concerns, including from actress Mia Farrow and writer Madeleine Davies, about whether Lee was pressured into agreeing to have the book published.
“She is alive and kicking and happy as hell with the reactions of ‘Watchman,'” Carter said in the statement.
Lee, who spent much of her life alternating between New York and her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama, has been in an assisted-living facility after a suffering a stroke and has failing vision and hearing.
Her sister, Alice, who was Lee’s longtime attorney, died in November.
“Go Set a Watchman” was written before “To Kill a Mockingbird,” which won the Pulitzer Prize and went on to sell more than 30 million copies.
Although written first, “Go Set a Watchman,” features lawyer Atticus Finch 20 years later as his adult daughter, Scout, returns to visit him in the fictional town of Maycomb, Alabama. It is scheduled to be published July 14. (Reporting by Laila Kearney)