It's been a long, 55-year wait, but Harper Lee, the author of the seminal To Kill A Mockingbird, is about to release her second book. Go Set A Watchman is out on July 14th, and courtesy of The Guardian and The Wall Street Journal, you can read the first chapter now. The book follows Scout, the protagonist of To Kill A Mockingbird, now grown up and traveling from New York to Alabama to visit her sick father. The chapter joins Scout on a train traveling south.
The book follows Scout Finch, grown up
The book's the first from the author for more than half a century, but it's not technically new. Lee actually finished Go Set A Watchman in 1957, three years before To Kill A Mockingbird, submitting it to publisher J.B. Lippincott at the age of 31. Her submission was rejected by the publisher, but her editor took note of the book's flashback scenes, and suggested she to write instead about protagonist Scout as a young girl. That advice took root and grew into the Pulitzer Prize-winning To Kill A Mockingbird, published in 1960.
Go Set A Watchman has only received "a very light copy edit," publisher HarperCollins says, with Lee reportedly asking that it be published almost as she originally wrote it. The book has already become the most preordered book in the publisher's history, but its scheduled launch has brought with it some controversy. It has been suggested that at 89 and having suffered a stroke, Lee is being manipulated into releasing a manuscript she never wanted to release, having previously stated that she would never publish again.