First chapter of Harper Lee’s “Go Set A Watchman” released

Harper Lee. (Dana Mixer/The New York Times)

Next Tuesday will see the most hotly anticipated release of the year: Harper Lee’s long-awaited To Kill a Mockingbird follow-up, Go Set A Watchman, will hit bookstands. The sequel was written in the 1950s and then put aside for decades. Its existence remained a mystery until last February when its publication was announced. On Friday, HarperCollins released the first chapter of the novel, in which Scout, aka Jean Louise Finch, 20 years older than she was in Mockingbird, returns to her hometown of Maycomb by train. “She had turned from an overalled, fractious, gun-slinging creature into a reasonable facsimile of a human being,” a passage from the opening chapter reads. The discovery of the novel, reportedly by Harper Lee’s lawyer Tonya Carter, in “a secure location where it had been affixed to an original typescript,” has sparked much discussion, including allegations that the now 89-year-old Lee was a victim of “elder abuse” and didn’t actually consent to the novel’s publication. Most of those rumors have now been put to rest, however, with her literary publisher Andrew Nurnberg saying: “The wonderful thing is that once this book is published, I very much hope all these naysayers are just going to disappear into the woodwork.”

Read the full story and the chapter at The Guardian.

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