Tuesday, 14 July 2015

To Kill Harper Lee

Never mind the way I was brought up. Never mind my experience. Never mind any of that. But this Go Set A Watchman situation is total madness.

There is something inherently sacred about a book. Some virginity you should not disturb. A higher voice, if you will. Witnessing this horrendous onslaught of Harper Lee’s novel release made me wish it was a new album by Lady Gaga, a World Cup final, a new round of Greek talks or another tablet from Apple. We are like an African tribe who has never read a typed text in our lives, and we are supposed to go for it. Tweet, queue, salivate.

To Kill A Mockingbird is okay. A novel whose greatness was destroyed by goodness. But if in another world, in another dimension, they discovered an unpublished novel by Saul Bellow or James Joyce, how would I feel? Excited, yes, but not if it were pushed into my face. I would go to a bookshop and buy it. Order through Amazon, download to Kindle, maybe, but I would not want to see my excitement diluted by a million messages, articles, comments. I would not want to see a liveblog spawned by modern-day obsession. 

At the end of day, what is left of the author? At the end of day, we may be an African tribe – but a book is still not an iPhone. Even if this one – well, it probably is. For me it is.