Mockingbird Sequel Historic Release


Lexie Reinecke, Staff Writer

55 years after her first novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee is publishing a second. The new book, entitled Go Set a Watchman, is scheduled for release on July 14, 2015.

Lee, now 88, has been considered a reclusive writer for decades. She has only rarely conducted official interviews since the 1960s and is now residing in an assisted-living facility. She’s profoundly deaf and nearly blind. It was long believed that she’d never write a book again.

Following To Kill a Mockingbird‘s critical as well as popular acclaim (it won the Pulitzer Prize in 1961, readers have been eagerly awaiting a sequel.

To Kill a Mockingbird stands is one of the central texts in the American literary tradition, and a key part of high school English curriculum.

Just as To Kill a Mockingbird challenged social ideology with its discussion of the 1930s American South, Go Set a Watchman will target racial issues. Lee actually wrote the book in 1950. It discusses the Civil Rights Movement of that era.

While set two decades after To Kill a Mockingbird, Lee actually wrote this novel first. She commented in a press release that her editor had liked the childhood flashbacks so well in Go Set a Watchman that she persuaded Lee to write a novel from young Scout’s perspective.

Go Set a Watchman features familiar, as it focuses mainly on the lives of Scout and Atticus Finch. The book is 304 pages and centers on a grown Scout’s return to her hometown of Maycomb, Alabama.

For many years, Lee believed the manuscript of Go Set a Watchman had been lost or discarded. Just this past fall, Lee’s lawyer Tonja Carter discovered the manuscript attached to an early draft of To Kill a Mockingbird.

According to the New York Times, Lee said, “I am humbled and amazed that this will now be published after so many years.”

Go Set a Watchman will be published by Harper, a part of Harper Collins publishing house, and will be available in book stores on July 14.

Jonathan Ruppin of Foyles London Bookstore who was interviewed for The Guardian, the release is “as big as it gets for new fiction. We can close the book on the bestselling novel of 2015 right now.”

The book is already available for pre-order on Amazon f0r $16.79 in hardback or $13.59 in Kindle, though the cover hasn’t been released.

In my experience, if a book’s any good, you close the back cover, and you just sit there for a minute because you can’t comprehend all that’s just happened. You were thrown into a world with characters you got to know, you either loved or hated but actually knew, and you walked around in their shoes. There are sentences every now and then that just seemed to describe the world in the exact way you’ve seen it.

If you’re like me, you might go back over those sacred sentences and read those notes you scribbled into the margins, or just flip through to try and be a part of it again. Maybe you recall favorite witticisms or hear the character’s talking. That’s what a good book should do to you. And that’s what a book like To Kill a Mockingbird does do.

For the first and last time I’ll probably ever say this, I regret spending my money on Fitzgerald books. Just last week, I spent the last of my allowance on five collections of short stories, essays, and an early version of Gatsby. No disrespect to my choice Celtic, but Lee’s new novel is literary legend in the making. 

Guess I’ll have to be begging for book money again.