Reviews of the most anticipated book of the decade, Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman, the unpublished chronological sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird, have been trickling in over the past few days in the lead up to its publication on the 14th July. There seems to be surprises in the book, which was actually written before the 1960s classic, but never published. Apparently, Atticus Finch, the defence lawyer, champion of suppressed blacks and the moral beacon of To Kill a Mockingbird, shows a darker side as a racist!
In Go Set a Watchman we meet Scout as a 26 year old, living in New York City on a visit to her ailing father Atticus in Alabama. After seeing the manuscript, her publisher suggested that Lee go back to the drawing board to write about Scout’s childhood instead. The rest is publishing history – of the extremely successful kind.
To Kill a Mockingbird is a hard act to follow. When the follow-up was written beforehand, it’s an even tougher call. To avoid disappointment, I have a feeling Go Set A Watchman is probably best enjoyed as a curiosity in light of the iconic status of its predecessor.
Still intrigued? Here’s a taster of the book – the first chapter of Go Set a Watchman.