Maycomb, Alabama. Twenty-six-year-old Jean Louise Finch – ‘Scout’ – returns home from New York City to visit her ageing 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 be guided only 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, humour 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 a classic.
BOOKREVIEW: Harper Lee’s, Go Set A Watchman
Reviewed by Thomas Jerome Baker
Author of Black Lives Matter
Harper Lee for some unknown reason, was persuaded to bring this book to the light of day. It could not have been financial reasons, as her book, “To Kill A Mockingbird”, had already made her a millionaire. So why was this book published? Maybe, the only person who will ever know is Harper Lee, and meanwhile, I am free to speculate on a question: “What if this book was published first, instead of “To Kill A Mockingbird?”
My answer: Harper Lee would still be a millionaire. Quite literally, the brilliant writing is still on display. The writer’s craft is evident, clearly, plainly. So it is quite likely Harper Lee would still be known for having written a powerful, enduring, and illuminating literary work. After all, Atticus, whether a racist or a liberal, free thinker, is still a compelling character. He drives both stories forward, galvanizing the reader to take sides based on our own tendencies in relation to how the character embodies and personifies us. In short, he represents us, expresses our innermost thoughts and feelings, and we respond, by affirming our allegiance to his views, or by rejecting him completely. There is no middle ground with this character. We are Atticus, or we are not.
In the final analysis, I loved “To Kill A Mockingbird.” Atticus represents my views about racism and mutual coexistence completely in that book. In this book, I literally hate Atticus. He is a despicable character with absolutely no redeeming qualities in my view. Having said that, the story is clinically well crafted, beautiful in its artistry, and definitely a must read. You need to confront viewpoints which you disagree with in order to become acutely aware of what you stand for. This controversial book will not disappoint any reader in that regard. Highly recommended.