You may have heard that Doris Lessing passed away recently.
You might be asking yourself just who Doris Lessing is.
A British author, Lessing became the oldest winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature when she received it in 2007 at the age of 88. She was born in what is now Iran, moved to what is now Zimbabwe and settled in England in 1949. Her breakthrough novel, The Golden Notebook, was published in 1962 but she continued writing throughout her life. According to her web site, her last work was published in 2008.
I have no doubt that additional works of hers will be found in the months and years to come.
Cynical? Perhaps. But a new novel by Pearl Buck, who passed away forty years ago, was found last spring and published this fall. (While not yet in our catalog we do have it on order.)
Dick Francis passed away three years ago but his books live on – written now by his son, Felix.
Robert B. Parker passed away about the same time. While Dick Francis wrote one style of book (English horse racing mysteries), Robert B. Parker had several different series going – westerns and mysteries with different characters. His estate has managed to find new authors for each of the series who seem to match his writing style and plotting.
Robert Ludlum, author of spy novels that are still being made into movies, passed away in 2001. You guessed it – someone else has taken over his series.
Ann Hillerman just published a book which continues the series started by her father, Tony, who passed away in 2008.
I’m not really complaining. I loved the books of Tony Hillerman, Dick Francis and Robert B. Parker and can’t wait to jump into “their” new books when they arrive.
While not a big fan of Pearl Buck (High School English may be to blame for that – The Good Earth just didn’t mean much to me at the time) I can appreciate and welcome the joy that a new novel of hers brings to her many followers.
It seems long-lost manuscripts or partial manuscripts are always being found. Jane Austen and Charles Dickens also spring to mind.
So the message may be this: Fear not, gentle reader, your favorite author may no longer be with us on this earth but he/she may yet live on.
And while you’re waiting for that to happen you can always try a new author – but you might want to make sure that they are young enough to be with us for awhile!