Friday, 22 July 2011

Top 100 Books | Harper Lee, the one book wonder

As we near the end of this search for the Top 100 books, one thing is pretty clear: To Kill A Mockingbird will definitely be on it.

In fact, as you can imagine, it is competing for the 'top spot' - book with the most mentions - with that other perennial, Lord of the Rings.

Harper Lee's first and only novel is remarkable for so many reasons. Remarkable that a writer capable of producing it never published again. Remarkable that the book has endured down the decades.

Last summer there was a British documentary in which a fan of the book went in search of the writer. Even though he was walking up and down her street in Alabama, Nelle (her full name is Nelle Harper Lee) was never tempted to call a halt to her long held ban on interviews. We didn't even catch a glimpse of her.

I respect that. What a sweet contrast to her life long pal, Truman Capote's very different approach to the media. Capote was a brilliant writer, but his books don't last the way Lee's solitary title does. There is something timeless and simple about her approach to writing.

But what do you think?

1 comment:

  1. It does seem extraordinary that such a sublime observer of human nature should chose not to write anything else. She is however quoted as saying, "When you have a hit like that, you can't go anywhere but down." I suppose that might encourage the rest of us to work our way up to our masterpieces!