From Harper Lee comes a landmark new novel set two decades after her beloved Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece, To Kill a Mockingbird.
Maycomb, Alabama. Twenty-six-year-old Jean Louise Finch – ‘Scout’ – returns home from New York City to visit her ageing father, Atticus. Set against the backdrop of the civil rights tensions and political turmoil that were transforming the South, Jean Louise’s homecoming turns bittersweet when she learns disturbing truths about her close-knit family, the town and the people dearest to her. Memories from her childhood flood back, and her values and assumptions are thrown into doubt. Featuring many of the iconic characters from To Kill a Mockingbird, Go Set a Watchman perfectly captures a young woman, and a world, in painful yet necessary transition out of the illusions of the past – a journey that can be guided only by one’s own conscience.
Written in the mid-1950s, Go Set a Watchman imparts a fuller, richer understanding and appreciation of Harper Lee. Here is an unforgettable novel of wisdom, humanity, passion, humour and effortless precision – a profoundly affecting work of art that is both wonderfully evocative of another era and relevant to our own times. It not only confirms the enduring brilliance of To Kill a Mockingbird, but also serves as its essential companion, adding depth, context and new meaning to a classic.
I was terrified to read Go Set A Watchman; like so many others who have read and love To Kill A Mockingbird I was worried that Go Set A Watchman would ruin it. This anxiety was advanced further when I saw snippets of other people’s reviews and they were not positive. However, I can say this about Go Set A Watchman, a sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird that was 55 years in the making, did not disappoint me. Not one bit.
Harper Lee’s inimitable style makes it feel like Go Set A Watchman hasn’t taken over five decades to be released. The story segues so smoothly. The story follows Jean Louise ‘Scout’ Finch two decades after To Kill A Mockingbird as she returns home from New York to visit her father.
Personally, I cannot see what all the negative reviews were about. The story is really about growing up and removing the rose tinted glasses that make you idealise your family; in this case Atticus Finch. Much like Scout Finch, the people who have read To Kill A Mockingbird pitched Atticus Finch as a paragon of virtue. When they find out that he isn’t as perfect as he seemed then they feel let down. It is like that very personal moment that most people go through when they realise that their parents are not just their mum and dad but people also.
Go Set A Watchman was beautiful and in a weird way a little bit heartbreaking. It was totally worth the wait.
Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee is available now.