Now, unless you live in a cave, you will have seen that sequel to the marvellous To Kill a Mockingbird has just been published. Originally written before TKAM, Go Set a Watchman sees Scout as an adult returning to her home town and her heroic father Atticus Finch.
Harper Lee apparently didn’t want this story published but is now elderly and frail and no one seems to be able to definitively state whether she’s agreed to it now. Her sister used to be her lawyer and handle all the press and publishers, but a new lawyer has recently been appointed and is causing quite a stir in the book world.
Every child at some point reads Lee’s only previously published novel, and I’m sure I can’t be the only one to have caught the film, featuring Gregory Peck’s defining performance as Atticus, on a wet Saturday afternoon. It has had a huge impact, and is beloved all over the world.
Between the spoilers, leaked pages, rumours, gossip and hype, it’s hard to know whether or not to read it. I’ve ordered a copy but am still apprehensive. If the author refused to publish for so long, should we be reading it? If the rumours about Atticus are true, will that noble man in Mockingbird be destroyed?
It’s a conundrum and one I fear will have no easy resolution. Some of my friends have already read it, and the feedback has been mixed. My friend Jack said I really should read it, even if only for academic purposes. But part of me, the part that loves TKAM and doesn’t want to spoil it, is really resistant.
Have any of you read it? What did you think?