By Art Taylor
I'll admit, straight from the start, that I have no idea how to answer this week's question: "After the excitement and controversy of Go Set A Watchman: what would be your dream rediscovered-lost-work? And your nightmare?"
It's been interesting to read the various approaches by my fellow panelists here at Criminal Minds—occasionally talking about their own early drafts or failed efforts potentially being made public someday, elsewhere surveying the trends (and travesties) of posthumous releases and/or works written by other authors building on legacies, and then Alan yesterday talking about a book that wasn't rediscovered after having been lost but just a failed book in a series (though he puts a clever spin on that: It couldn't have been the author himself who wrote it).
But none of that quite gets to the question here, as I see it: Is there an author—presumably dead or at least no longer writing—from whom I'd want more? an unknown manuscript discovered in some corner of a relative's attic or unearthed from a basement—jewels from junk?
Well, I've rummaged around the attic and the basement of my own imagination (and then the very real bookshelves surrounding me at work and at home), and no author has jumped to mind.
Maybe readers here will fault my own speculative abilities—some dearth of interest on my part, some lack of passion. I can't blame them, entirely, though I wouldn't necessarily agree. I would indeed be interested if, say, an unknown story by Edgar Allan Poe or Flannery O'Connor or Stanley Ellin were to suddenly surface—but at the same time, I'm more than content with reading and re-reading the existing work by these and many other authors. And let's face it, all of us already have more to read than we'll ever finish in a lifetime—I still haven't read all of Poe, so why would I need more?
Are there authors whose works I can honestly say I've fully, completely exhausted my time with and need more? That's what I'm struggling to think of—because even then, my instinct would be simply to reread, a process which has so many pleasures and, sadly, too few proponents sometimes.
And maybe it's that last point I want to leave folks with—questions stemming from that: Which authors can you just never get enough of? Which authors, which books, do you find yourself REreading time and again? And what is it that you get out of that kind of immersion and reimmersion?