Go Set a Watchman: A Novel Hardcover – Deckle Edge, Jul 14 2015
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“Go Set a Watchman is such an important book, perhaps the most important novel on race to come out of the white South in decades… (New York Times Opinion Pages: Taking Note)
“Watchman is compelling in its timeliness.” (Washington Post)
“Go Set a Watchman provides valuable insight into the generous, complex mind of one of America’s most important authors.” (USA Today)
“Harper Lee’s second novel sheds more light on our world than its predecessor did.” (Time)
“[Go Set a Watchman] contains the familiar pleasures of Ms. Lee’s writing- the easy, drawling rhythms, the flashes of insouciant humor, the love of anecdote.” (Wall Street Journal)
“…the voice we came to know so well in To Kill a Mockingbird - funny, ornery, rulebreaking - is right here in Go Set a Watchman, too, as exasperating and captivating as ever.” (Chicago Tribune)
“Don’t let ‘Go Set a Watchman’ change the way you think about Atticus Finch…the hard truth is that a man such as Atticus, born barely a decade after Reconstruction to a family of Southern gentry, would have had a complicated and tortuous history with race.” (Los Angeles Times)
“A significant aspect of this novel is that it asks us to see Atticus now not merely as a hero, a god, but as a flesh-and-blood man with shortcomings and moral failing, enabling us to see ourselves for all our complexities and contradictions.” (Washington Post)
“The success of Go Set a Watchman... lies both in its depiction of Jean Louise reckoning with her father’s beliefs, and in the manner by which it integrates those beliefs into the Atticus we know.” (Time)
“Go Set a Watchman’s greatest asset may be its role in sparking frank discussion about America’s woeful track record when it comes to racial equality.” (San Francisco Chronicle)
“Go Set a Watchman comes to us at exactly the right moment. All important works of art do. They come when we don’t know how much we need them.” (Chicago Tribune)
“What makes Go Set a Watchman memorable is its sophisticated and even prescient view of the long march for racial justice. Remarkably, a novel written that long ago has a lot to say about our current struggles with race and inequality.” (Chicago Tribune)
“[Go Set a Watchman] captures some of the same small-town Southern humor and preoccupation with America’s great struggle: race.” (Columbus Dispatch)
“Go Set a Watchman’s gorgeous opening is better than we could have expected.” (Vanity Fair)
“Go Set a Watchman is more complex than Harper Lee’s original classic. A satisfying novel… it is, in most respects, a new work, and a pleasure, revelation and genuine literary event.” (The Guardian)
“Lee’s ability with description is evident… with long sentences beautifully rendered and evoking a world long lost to history, but welcoming all the same.” (CNN.com)
“A coming-of-age novel in which Scout becomes her own woman…Go Set a Watchman’s voice is beguiling and distinctive, and reminiscent of Mockingbird. (It) can’t be dismissed as literary scraps from Lee’s imagination. It has too much integrity for that.” (The Independent)
“Atticus’ complexity makes Go Set a Watchman worth reading. With Mockingbird, Harper Lee made us question what we know and who we think we are. Go Set a Watchman continues in this noble literary tradition.” (New York Post)
“A deftly written tale… there’s something undeniably comforting and familiar about sinking into Lee’s prose once again.” (People)
“One overarching theme that many critics have zeroed in on is that there is a lot to learn from the novel, as both a writer and a reader.” (Vulture)
“As Faulkner said, the only good stories are the ones about the human heart in conflict with itself. And that’s a pretty good summation of Go Set a Watchman.” (Daily Beast)
“Go Set a Watchman offers a rich and complex story… To make the novel about pinning the right label on Atticus is to miss the point.” (Bloomberg View)
“[Go Set a Watchman is a] brilliant book that ruthlessly examines race relations (Denver Post)
“In this powerful newly published story about the Finch family, Lee presents a wider window into the white Southern heart, and tells us it is finally time for us all to shatter the false gods of the past and be free.” (NPR's "Code Switch")
“[Go Set a Watchman is] filled with the evocative language, realistic dialogue and sense of place that partially explains what made Mockingbird so beloved.” (Buffalo News)
From the Back Cover
“Go Set a Watchman is such an important book, perhaps the most important novel on race to come out of the white South in decades.”—Clay Risen, New York Times
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.
“Harper Lee’s second novel sheds more light on our world than its predecessor did.”—Time“Provides valuable insight into the generous, complex mind of one of America’s most important authors.”—USA Today See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
And quite a few simply did not like the result. At all.
My feelings fall right down the middle.
But only about the story.
For those not in the know, I am going on about Go Set A Watchman, the sequel to the book To Kill A Mockingbird.
Back in 1960, author Harper Lee published her first novel, a coming of age tale set in the 1930’s about a young girl called Scout. She lives a tomboy life with her widowed father, the saintly Atticus, and her older brother. As time goes by, Atticus gets involved as a lawyer for a local racially charged trial, one with far reaching consequences.
Legions of fans, including myself, fell in love with this amazing classic story about love, justice, society, parents, and learning what is right. We also all kinda realized Scout was Lee.
The award winning book spawned an award winning movie, released in 1962 and starring Gregory Peck. And Harper Lee just went back to living to her life, eventually shunning publicity, and not publishing anything at all for decades and decades.
Until her new lawyer found an old manuscript and the now over eighty year old Lee gave the go ahead to publish. Much controversy ensued as many thought the lawyer was controlling and using the elderly Lee to her advantage, all for profit. I fully believe Lee did want this book published, since everything I have heard about her is of a lady very much in charge of her faculties.
Now as for the controversy with the actual book, which also blew up social media.
It is very overblown to say the least.
And it is all about Atticus.Read more ›
Novel by Harper Lee, July 2015.
With Harper Lee’s only other book an American classic, the publication of Go Set a Watchman was highly anticipated this summer. As you might expect, the novel has drawn a variety of reactions and responses.
Jean Louise “Scout” Finch is a young woman in her twenties who travels from her home in New York City to the fictional town of Maycomb, Alabama, to visit her elderly and arthritic father, and her family. Times have changed since her childhood recorded in Harper Lee’s Pulitzer prize winning novel, To Kill a Mockingbird (1960), and she is not so sure that she likes what she sees and discovers.
Her visit is laced with tension because, as Thomas Wolfe has written, You Can’t Go Home Again. For Jean Louise, this is the time for the Scout portion in her to come of age. But the process is traumatic! Through a series of flashbacks to Scout’s childhood, the reader becomes re-acquainted with neighbour friend, Charles Baker “Dill” Harris (in Italy), and her older brother Jeremy “Jem” Finch, who has since died of a heart condition which also killed her mother.
Aunt Alexandra, and Uncle Jack Finch (a retired doctor) interact at length with Jean Louise in the plot, and play significant roles. While Atticus Finch, the revered father of Jean Louise, does not play a major role, his influence is considerable and pivotal. Childhood friend, Henry “Hank” Clinton who lived across the street, now works in the law office with Atticus, and appears as a potential suitor. The Finch Family maid, Calpurnia, (whom Jean Louise sees as a mother figure) is retired in this narrative, and has a minor---but poignant---role.
Picture the emotional struggle.Read more ›
Although Go Set a Watchman is certainly well-written, and is presented in a relaxed Southern style that only Mockingbird has shown us previously, it is a profoundly one-dimensional narrative. The entirety of the story focuses on one, and only one, subject. Given media attention in the few days leading up to the book's release, I don't think that it is a spoiler to say that that one subject is the fall from grace of Atticus Finch due to his newly revealed racist beliefs. Backstories about the childhood of Jean-Louise fail to come across a much more than filler, and are occasionally a bit monotonous.
Atticus was, for generations, one of the few unquestioned heroes of American literature, and the loss of this icon is as heart-wrenching for the reader as the novel describes it as being for his daughter. The ending tries to portray a reconciliation of Atticus' attitudes on race based on justifications that might have seemed persuasive in the 1950's, but fall far short of efficacy today.
This book was written in the 1950's, and when prospective publishers saw it, they apparently recognized the genius of Harper Lee as a writer and storyteller, but they saw a novel that was not well-rounded enough for publication. They insisted that she write another book, and that other book became arguably the greatest work in the history of American Literature. The legendary status of Mockingbird is the only reason that this book has now seen the light of day. Nothing can detract from Lee's triumph with Mockingbird, but Watchman will not add to it.
I will state that the timing of the release of this book borders on the prophetic.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
This book reads exactly like what it is: the first (of many) drafts of a book that an editor eventually helped guide Harper Lee into turning into a truly wonderful book. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Joan Simpson
I am still on the fence about this book, and have stopped reading half way through. I'm having issues with a moral dilemma one of the characters is facing, and it's casting a... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Kristy Spencer