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Go Set a Watchman
Cover of Go Set a Watchman
Go Set a Watchman
To Kill a Mockingbird Series, Book 2
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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 aging 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 only be guided 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, humor, 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 an American classic.

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 aging 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 only be guided 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, humor, 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 an American classic.

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About the Author-
  • Harper Lee was born in 1926 in Monroeville, Alabama. She is the author of the acclaimed To Kill a Mockingbird and Go Set a Watchman, which became a phenomenal #1 New York Times bestseller when it was published in July 2015. Ms. Lee received the Pulitzer Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and numerous other literary awards and honors. She died on February 19, 2016.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    July 20, 2015
    Reviewed by Louisa Ermelino The editor who rejected Lee's first effort had the right idea. The novel the world has been waiting for is clearly the work of a novice, with poor characterization (how did the beloved Scout grow up to be such a preachy bore, even as she serves as the book's moral compass?), lengthy exposition, and ultimately not much story, unless you consider Scout thinking she's pregnant because she was French-kissed or her losing her falsies at the school dance compelling. The book opens in the 1950s with Jean Louise, a grown-up 26-year-old Scout, returning to Maycomb from New York, where she's been living as an independent woman. Jean Louise is there to see Atticus, now in his seventies and debilitated by arthritis. She arrives in a town bristling from the NAACP's actions to desegregate the schools. Her aunt Zandra, the classic Southern gentlewoman, berates Jean Louise for wearing slacks and for considering her longtime friend and Atticus protégé Henry Clinton as a potential husband—Zandra dubs him trash. But the crux of the book is that Atticus and Henry are racist, as is everyone else in Jean Louise's old life (even her childhood caretaker, Calpurnia, sees the white folks as the enemy). The presentation of the South pushing back against the dictates of the Federal government, utilizing characters from a book that was about justice prevailing in the South through the efforts of an unambiguous hero, is a worthy endeavor. Lee just doesn't do the job with any aplomb. The theme of the book is basically about not being able to go home again, as Jean Louise sums it up in her confrontation with Atticus: "there's no place for me anymore in Maycomb, and I'll never be entirely at home anywhere else." As a picture of the desegregating South, the novel is interesting but heavy-handed, with harsh language and rough sentiments: "Do you want them in our world?" Atticus asks his daughter. The temptation to publish another Lee novel was undoubtedly great, but it's a little like finding out there's no Santa Claus.

  • AudioFile Magazine Oscar-winning actress and Southern girl Reese Witherspoon portrays the narrator of the masterpiece TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, who is now an adult called by her full name, Jean Louise, living in New York City. As she describes her return to her hometown for an annual visit, the story features many of the same characters in MOCKINGBIRD, but they're radically different in outlook. All are portrayed by Witherspoon with perfect pitch and pacing, and the sure hand of a talented actress who is well aware of the region's racially fraught past. Lee's new novel draws on the same theme as MOCKINGBIRD--empathy--but as Witherspoon wistfully portrays Atticus, Scout, and others, listeners will need to find new ways of understanding them. R.O. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2015, Portland, Maine
  • Library Journal

    September 15, 2015

    Scout, who now goes by Jean Louise, is 26, and returns to Macomb, AL, from New York, where she has been living, to find that her beloved father, Atticus, now old and crippled with arthritis, has joined the White Citizen's Council and adamantly opposes the NAACP. She struggles to understand his decision, one that will shock readers of To Kill a Mockingbird, who remember Atticus defending a black man falsely accused of raping a white woman. Lacking the power and narrative quality of Mockingbird, this coming-of-age novel does present a vivid picture of small-town life, complete with its bigotry and stereotypes. Jean Louise doesn't fare as well, though; her rebellious personality is better suited to the childhood shenanigans described in Mockingbird. Reese Witherspoon narrates credibly, though perhaps more dramatically than necessary. VERDICT Listeners curious about this book after all of the hype will probably be disappointed, not only in its main characters but in the long, polemical discussions of race that try to justify racism. ["Disturbing, important, and not to be compared with Mockingbird; this book is its own signal work": LJ 8/15 starred review of the Harper hc.]--Nancy R. Ives, SUNY at Geneseo

    Copyright 2015 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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To Kill a Mockingbird Series, Book 2
Harper Lee
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