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Publisher issues Harper Lee statement on new book


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NEW YORK (AP) — Amid concerns that Harper Lee was not involved in the decision to publish a second novel, HarperCollins issued a statement relayed by her attorney in which the author says she is "happy as hell" about the response to her upcoming book, "Go Set a Watchman."

In the statement given to the publisher by Lee's attorney, Tonja Carter, the author says "she is alive and kicking and happy as hell with the reactions of 'Watchman.'" Lee stunned the world this week by agreeing to the release of her first book since the classic "To Kill a Mockingbird" came out in 1960. But ecstasy has been tempered by speculation about her condition. Lee, 88, has been in poor health in recent years.

The publisher has acknowledged that they haven't dealt directly with Lee on the new book, but communicated with her through Carter and literary agent Andrew Nurnberg.

"Watchman," to be published in July, already is No. 1 on Amazon.com.

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