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Go Set a Watchman Hardcover – 14 Jul 2015
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"A new work, and a pleasure, revelation and genuine literary event…Go Set a Watchman shakes the settled view of both an author and her novel…This publication intensifies the regret that Harper Lee published so little." (Mark Lawson Guardian)
"Go Set a Watchman is the more radical, ambitious and politicised of the two novels Lee has now published…It has contemporary relevance where Mockingbird is safely sealed off as a piece of American history…It does not undermine Mockingbird but it makes a reassessment of that story absolutely necessary…It is a book of enormous literary interest…Beguiling and distinctive, and reminiscent of Mockingbird…Go Set a Watchman can’t be dismissed as literary scraps from Lee’s’ imagination. It has too much integrity for that." (Arifa Akbar Independent)
"More edgy and thought provoking [than To Kill a Mockingbird] … It has a power to it beyond being a mere historical curio or more lit crit material for Harper Lee studies… Eccentric characters are brightly drawn. There is Lee’s trademark warmth, some droll lines and the sense of place and time is strong…[It has] a surprisingly provocative message ― don’t airily dismiss the prejudices of others, try to understand them." (Robbie Millen The Times)
"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)
"I’m happy to report that most of the caveats and conspiracy theories surrounding Go Set a Watchman melt away as you read the opening chapters and reacquaint yourself with that beguiling Harper Lee narrative style ― warm, sardonic, amused by male folly and social pretension, wryly funny, a sassy Southern voice, Mark Twain with a dash of Katharine Hepburn." (John Walsh Sunday Times)
"We have travelled into the past and returned to find that our present is not quite the same as we left it. Atticus Finch will never again be the white knight we once thought him. And yet the mockingbird still sings ― no longer a song of innocence, but maybe one of experience; a song that combines sorrow, forgiveness ― and, ultimately, a kind of hope." (Joanne Harris Daily Mail)
"There are some flashes of genius…My favourite scene is at “a coffee”, where our rebellious Scout must make small talk with a bunch of married former acquaintances whom she deliberately hasn’t seen since school. Lee’s précis of their vapid conversation is hilarious, feminist and wickedly modern." (Katy Guest Independent on Sunday)
"Go Set A Watchman is a powerful and moving novel… The opening chapters are slow and languorous, beautifully setting the scene. Lee’s unadorned style is lit up by the occasional sparkling metaphor." (Vanessa Berridge Daily Express)
"A literary masterpiece, and an enjoyable one at that." (Natasha Harding Sun)
"Equally significant today, and imbued with Lee’s wisdom, humanity and humour." (Justine East Independent)
From Harper Lee comes a landmark new novel set two decades after her beloved Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece, To Kill a Mockingbird.See all Product description
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If you want to ruin all your memories of the memorable characters from the original book go ahead and read it. You'll especially love the part where Atticus Finch reveals himself to be a racist. The style, limpid fluent and resonant in the original book, seems half-baked at times which is only to be expected when you realize that its publication was never really her decision. If you are a fan of Mockingbird I'd seriously advise you to give it a miss. Harper Lee was a proud, unbending person who never succumbed to the lure of money by publishing books she didn't think were ready. That is as unique as it gets. We shouldn't allow unprincipled corporate morons to tarnish that legacy.
1st part of the book left a positive impression & I have opted to retain the 'first impression comments' at the end of this review.
2nd part was rather a drag - many pages of lengthy conversations that Scout/JeanLouise had with her dad Atticus & her paternal uncle Jack Finch. Question becomes rather on whether her dad is the hero she thought of him to be. Comes the point of everyone's inner 'watchman' or conscience. Seemed a lot like adolescent tantrums of a 20 years+ than as any strong bigotry that her uncle labels it as.
The word 'colour blind' is used by the author to describe herself at least in two places, seemingly to bring out her lack of racism 'in sharp contrast to' her dad's now a tad racist thinking as she sees it. What Atticus was to her in 'To Kill a Mockingbird' is almost her uncle in this sequel. 'Scout'ing around for someone who's words she can directly follow to the last letter in her life, seems to be her 'search'?!
Summary: If the mature outlook of Atticus is what stole your heart in 'To kill a mockingbird', this book might disappoint you.
Except for author's extreme reactions to the 'new' ways of her 'old tired town', the portrait of the small town is very realistic. Probably, as Indians of our generation who after seeing things change in our own lifetimes, have started believing that life does moves in cycles, & that what moves up comes down in the waves of life, like the oppressed becoming the oppressors of today, the ethos of the book may not appeal a great deal.
Retaining the 'first impression comments' that I added here, at below 50% reading point:
Just started reading this & already enjoying Harper Lee's signature writing & her ever present humour - sometimes obvious & at others subtle! Recommended read for the fans of her mastrepiece 'To kille a mocking bird' - 'Go set a watchman' is the return of Scout, now a young lady, to the 'tired old' Maycomb county, Alabama, & to her dad Atticus...
The three adjectives I would like to use to review this book. To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my favourite books, I never in my life imagined Go Set a Watchman to prove so disappointing. The change in Atticus' character is so sporadic and his justification is utterly blunt; there was no sense of similarity felt between Atticus of TKAM and GSAW. However, I just liked the end and the message it sends- to stop being a bigot, to accept difference in opinions, to be stuck to your opinion(if you think they are reasonable) no matter what and to not let your views and opinions affect your personal relations.
Maybe I'm in detail but some of the characters take a 360° turn in this one.
If you love Atticus and don't want his character tarnished don't read it.
But a small reward is reading the interactions between Atticus and Jean and Jean and her aunt.
Hence, the disappointment. Nevertheless,the book has some really good portions,where one would enjoy the touch of Harper lee.
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