Afternoons with Harper Lee

Title Details

Pages: 256

Trim size: 5.500in x 8.000in

Formats

Hardcover

Pub Date: 10/01/2022

ISBN: 9-781-5883-8487-4

List Price: $24.95

Afternoons with Harper Lee

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  • Description
  • Reviews

Imagine sitting with an esteemed writer on his or her front porch somewhere in the world and swapping life stories. Dr. Wayne Flynt got the opportunity to do just this with Nelle Harper Lee. In a friendship that blossomed over a dozen years starting when Lee relocated back to Alabama after having had a stroke, Flynt and his wife Dartie became regular visitors at the assisted living facility that was Lee's new home. And there the conversation began. It began where it always begins with Southern storytellers, with an invitation to "Come in, sit down, and stay a while."

The stories exchanged ranged widely over the topics of Alabama history, Alabama folklore, family genealogy, and American literature, of course. On the way from beginning to end there were many detours: talks about Huntingdon College; The University of Alabama; New York City; the United Kingdom; Garden City, Kansas; and Mobile, Alabama, to name just a few. Wayne and his wife were often joined by Alice Lee, the oldest Lee sister, a living encyclopedia on the subject of family genealogy, and middle sister Louise Lee Conner.

The hours spent visiting, in intimate closeness, are still cherished by Wayne Flynt. They yielded revelations large and small, which have been shaped into Afternoons with Harper Lee. Part memoir, part biography, this book offers a unique window into the life and mind and preoccupations of one of America's best-loved writers. Flynt and Harper Lee and her sisters learned a great deal from each other, and though this is not a history book, their shared interest in Alabama and its history made this extraordinary work possible.

Many people have written books about Harper Lee. Wayne Flynt knew her better than any of them. This is a fond and very personal portrait, full of stories and laughter. The lady's unique astringent voice comes through loud and clear. Nelle Harper lee would have loved this book, and so do I.

—Mark Childress, author of Crazy in Alabama and Georgia Bottoms

Afternoons with Harper Lee is a celebration of friendship, literature, and how place and history shape us all. It's full of wisdom, love, and loss-heartbreaking and heart-healing in equal measure. I so enjoyed this book!

—Daniel Wallace, author of Big Fish

For sixty-four long afternoons, Wayne Flynt, his wife Dartie, and Harper Lee sat and talked away the day, revisiting the subjects of sharecroppers and old courthouses and busy New York streets and the wider world. Flynt wrote down those memories and offers them to us in what is a true open window into the life of one of the South's most private icons. This is no deep dive into Harper Lee, but a warm, easy visit with her in the twilight of her life. Flynt also recently lost his beloved wife. This book is a monument to her and Harper Lee and a South we will never see again.

—Rick Bragg, bestselling author of twelve books on the American South

Though Nelle's world became smaller in her later years, the stories told in Afternoons with Harper Lee reveal much about the vibrancy of her wit, insight, and powers of description and self-deprecation which defined her to the end. Thanks to Wayne Flynt for giving us such an admirable portrait of this great, complicated, and most famous writer.

—Paul Dewey, Neale Harper Lee friend and correspondent, son of In Cold Blood Kansas Bureau of Investigation agent Al Dewey

Often described as reclusive, Nelle Harper Lee was warm and genial with close friends such as Southern historian Wayne Flynt. Based on a decade of delightful conversations and shared storytelling in the Southern tradition, Afternoons with Harper Lee reveals the multi-faceted personality - witty, caustic, generous, self-deprecating, kind, searingly honest - of one of our nation's most revered writers.

—Cynthia Tucker, Pulitzer prize-winning columnist, coauthor of The Southernization of America

No biography of any person has made me feel so palpably that I sat with its subject as Wayne Flynt's Afternoons with Harper Lee. NewSouth Books has given us a seat next to one of the most important writers, globally, of the last hundred years. Flynt's contextualizing of his (and our) visits with important information about both local and national time and place completes the experience.

—Sena Jeter Naslund, author of Four Spirits, Ahab's Wife and seven others

The winter of Harper Lee's life was rich, spirited, and opinionated. In Afternoons with Harper Lee, her friend Wayne Flynt captures memories of their friendship and tells about the challenges of fame she faced until her death. Candid, heartfelt, and insightful, Flynt allows us to see the human side of a beloved literary icon.

—Donna Paz Kaufman, Story & Song Bookstore Bistro