From Harper Lee comes a landmark new novel set two decades after her beloved Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece, To Kill a Mockingbird.
A landmark new novel from Harper Lee, 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.
“A new work, and a pleasure, revelation and genuine literary event…Go Set a Watchman shakes the settled view of both an author and her novel…This publication intensifies the regret that Harper Lee published so little.”
Mark Lawson, Guardian
“Go Set a Watchman is the more radical, ambitious and politicised of the two novels Lee has now published…It has contemporary relevance where Mockingbird is safely sealed off as a piece of American history…It does not undermine Mockingbird but it makes a reassessment of that story absolutely necessary…It is a book of enormous literary interest…Beguiling and distinctive, and reminiscent of Mockingbird…Go Set a Watchman can’t be dismissed as literary scraps from Lee’s’ imagination. It has too much integrity for that.”
Arifa Akbar, Independent
“More edgy and thought provoking [than To Kill a Mockingbird] … It has a power to it beyond being a mere historical curio or more lit crit material for Harper Lee studies… Eccentric characters are brightly drawn. There is Lee’s trademark warmth, some droll lines and the sense of place and time is strong…[It has] a surprisingly provocative message — don’t airily dismiss the prejudices of others, try to understand them.”
Robbie Millen, The Times
“The flashes of lyrical genius and ability to evoke the intensity of childhood play that come to fruition in To Kill a Mockingbird are in evidence…It’s nowhere near the novel Mockingbird is. It is much better than that…What Watchman tells us, and tells us rather powerfully, is that racism is not confined to people who are so clearly not like us…Watchman is for grown-ups. It asks serious questions about what racism is. And it comes at a time when American desperately needs a grown-up conversation about race.”
Erica Wagner, New Statesman
“I’m happy to report that most of the caveats and conspiracy theories surrounding Go Set a Watchman melt away as you read the opening chapters and reacquaint yourself with that beguiling Harper Lee narrative style — warm, sardonic, amused by male folly and social pretension, wryly funny, a sassy Southern voice, Mark Twain with a dash of Katharine Hepburn.”
John Walsh, Sunday Times
“We have travelled into the past and returned to find that our present is not quite the same as we left it. Atticus Finch will never again be the white knight we once thought him. And yet the mockingbird still sings — no longer a song of innocence, but maybe one of experience; a song that combines sorrow, forgiveness — and, ultimately, a kind of hope.”
Joanne Harris, Daily Mail
“There are some flashes of genius…My favourite scene is at “a coffee”, where our rebellious Scout must make small talk with a bunch of married former acquaintances whom she deliberately hasn’t seen since school. Lee’s précis of their vapid conversation is hilarious, feminist and wickedly modern.”
Katy Guest, Independent on Sunday
“Go Set A Watchman is a powerful and moving novel… The opening chapters are slow and languorous, beautifully setting the scene. Lee’s unadorned style is lit up by the occasional sparkling metaphor.”
Vanessa Berridge, Daily Express
“A literary masterpiece, and an enjoyable one at that.”
Natasha Harding, Sun
“Equally significant today, and imbued with Lee’s wisdom, humanity and humour.”
Justine East, Independent
“It ignited a fascinating debate on the place and portrayal of racism in both books, as well as about the magic and hard graft of novel writing.”
Justine Jordan, Guardian
“The caveats surrounding this companion volume to To Kill a Mockingbird melt away as you read the opening chapters and reacquaint yourself with Lee’s beguiling narrative style – warm, sardonic, wryly funny, a sassy Southern voice…Go Set a Watchman zips along.”