Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee - review by Elaine Showalter

Elaine Showalter

Death of a Mockingbird

Go Set a Watchman

By

William Heinemann 288pp £18.99 order from our bookshop
 

In the fifty-five years since its publication, Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird has become an American classic, taught in schools across the country, made into a memorable film and enshrined as what Oprah Winfrey has called ‘our national novel’. Until 14 July 2015, Lee had never published another book. But the release that day of the long-lost version of the original novel, Go Set a Watchman, was a literary and cultural bombshell. Atticus Finch, the revered, almost sanctified 1930s lawyer hero of To Kill a Mockingbird, is revealed in this book to have been a white supremacist. Returning from New York to her Alabama home town, Maycomb, just after the 1954 Supreme Court decision that ended racial segregation in the United States, his daughter, 26-year-old Jean Louise ‘Scout’ Finch, is shocked and disgusted by her discovery of her adored father’s racism, attendance at meetings of the

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