Harper Lee let­ters flop at New York auc­tion ahead of new novel

The China Post - - LIFE -

Six let­ters writ­ten by U.S. nov­el­ist Harper Lee flopped at auc­tion Fri­day de­spite fever­ish in­ter­est in the pub­li­ca­tion of her sec­ond novel, set for re­lease next month.

The typed let­ters sent from 1956-1961 to a close friend, New York ar­chi­tect Harold Cau­field, shine a rare light into the per­sonal thoughts of one of Amer­ica’s most reclu­sive but cel­e­brated au­thors.

Christie’s had val­ued the let­ters at US$150,000 to US$250,000, but there was no buyer and bid­ding stopped at US$90,000, a spokes­woman for the auc­tion house told AFP.

Lee’s only pub­lished novel

to date, the best-sell­ing master­piece “To Kill a Mock­ing­bird,” won the Pulitzer Prize for its tale of racial injustice in the De­pres­sion-era South.

Pub­lished in 1960, it has be­come stan­dard read­ing in Amer­i­can class­rooms and has been trans­lated into more than 40 lan­guages, as well as adapted into an Os­car-win­ning film star­ring Gre­gory Peck.

Lee, 89, lives as a recluse and it is ex­cep­tion­ally rare for her pri­vate writ­ings to come onto the mar­ket.

Four of the let­ters were writ­ten be­fore “Mock­ing­bird” was pub- lished and de­tail her thoughts in car­ing for her adored fa­ther and the strains of life in her home­town of Mon­roeville, Alabama.

In 1960, she wrote in rap­tures about the daz­zling suc­cess of her novel — “We were sur­prised, stunned and dazed by the Prince­ton Re­view,” she said.

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