Hardback: 278 pages
Series: To Kill A MockingBird #2
Genre: Literary Fiction
Publisher: Harper Collins 2015
Source: Tywyn Public Library
Characters: Scout Finch, Atticus Finch, Aunt Alexandra, Henry "Hank" Clinton, Jack Finch
Setting: Alabama, USA
First Sentence: Since Atlanta, she had looked out the dining-car window with a delight almost physical.
Favourite Quote:“As sure as time, history is repeating itself, and as sure as man is man, history is the last place he’ll look for his lessons.”
Review Quote: "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)
Literary Awards: Goodreads Choice Award for Fiction (2015), Waterstones Book of the Year Nominee (2015)
My Opinion: Although it is many years since I was at school in the sixties and read To Kill A Mocking Bird it was rather special to decades later be able to meet the characters again on the pages of Go Set A Watchman. Unless you have read the former I doubt you will get much from the latter, as it feels more of a postscript than a sequel. In fact many say it was written first. Scout Finch has returned home to Alabama and finds herself thrown into conflict with her father who is now portrayed as a bitter racist, far from the virtuous man he had appeared previously as. Certainly a thought provoking read.
Précis Courtesy of Goodreads:
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 a painful yet necessary transition out of the illusions of the past--a journey that can be guided only by one's 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.
Video Trailer for 'Go Set A Watchman' Courtesy of YouTube
Harper Lee, known as Nelle, was born in the Alabama town of Monroeville, in 1926, the youngest of four children of Amasa Coleman Lee and Frances Cunningham Finch Lee. Her father, a former newspaper editor and proprietor, was a lawyer who served on the state legislature from 1926 to 1938. As a child, Lee was a tomboy and a precocious reader, and enjoyed the friendship of her schoolmate and neighbor, the young Truman Capote.
After graduating from high school in Monroeville, Lee enrolled at the all-female Huntingdon College in Montgomery (1944-45), and then pursued a law degree at the University of Alabama (1945-50), pledging the Chi Omega sorority. While there, she wrote for several student publications and spent a year as editor of the campus humor magazine, "Ramma-Jamma". Though she did not complete the law degree, she studied for a summer in Oxford, England, before moving to New York in 1950, where she worked as a reservation clerk with Eastern Air Lines and BOAC.
Lee continued as a reservation clerk until the late 50s, when she devoted herself to writing. She lived a frugal life, traveling between her cold-water-only apartment in New York to her family home in Alabama to care for her father.
Having written several long stories, Harper Lee located an agent in November 1956. The following month at the East 50th townhouse of her friends Michael Brown and Joy Williams Brown, she received a gift of a year's wages with a note: "You have one year off from your job to write whatever you please. Merry Christmas."
Within a year, she had a first draft. Working with J. B. Lippincott & Co. editor Tay Hohoff, she completed To Kill a Mockingbird in the summer of 1959. Published July 11, 1960, the novel was an immediate bestseller and won great critical acclaim, including the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1961. It remains a bestseller with more than 30 million copies in print. In 1999, it was voted "Best Novel of the Century" in a poll by the Library Journal
She died on 19 February 2016.
Photographs, Trailer and Biographical Information courtesy of the following sites.
You Tube Video Amazon's Harper Lee Page Goodreads Profile