Go Set a Watchman (Lee)

Book Reviews
Don’t let Go Set a Watchman change the way you think about Atticus Finch…the hard truth is that a man such as Atticus, born barely a decade after Reconstruction to a family of Southern gentry, would have had a complicated and tortuous history with race.
Los Angeles Times


[Go Set a Watchman] contains the familiar pleasures of Ms. Lee’s writing—the easy, drawling rhythms, the flashes of insouciant humor, the love of anecdote.
Wall Street Journal


Watchman is compelling in its timeliness.
Washington Post


A significant aspect of this novel is that it asks us to see Atticus now not merely as a hero, a god, but as a flesh-and-blood man with shortcomings and moral failing, enabling us to see ourselves for all our complexities and contradictions.
Washington Post


The success of Go Set a Watchman... lies both in its depiction of Jean Louise reckoning with her father’s beliefs, and in the manner by which it integrates those beliefs into the Atticus we know.
Time


Go Set a Watchman’s greatest asset may be its role in sparking frank discussion about America’s woeful track record when it comes to racial equality.
San Francisco Chronicle


Go Set a Watchman comes to us at exactly the right moment. All important works of art do. They come when we don’t know how much we need them.
Chicago Tribune


[T]he voice we came to know so well in To Kill a Mockingbird—funny, ornery, rulebreaking—is right here in Go Set a Watchman, too, as exasperating and captivating as ever.
Chicago Tribune


What makes Go Set a Watchman memorable is its sophisticated and even prescient view of the long march for racial justice. Remarkably, a novel written that long ago has a lot to say about our current struggles with race and inequality.
Chicago Tribune


[Go Set a Watchman] captures some of the same small-town Southern humor and preoccupation with America’s great struggle: race.
Columbus Dispatch


Go Set a Watchman’s gorgeous opening is better than we could have expected.
Vanity Fair


Go Set a Watchman is more complex than Harper Lee’s original classic. A satisfying novel… it is, in most respects, a new work, and a pleasure, revelation and genuine literary event.
Guardian (UK)


Lee’s ability with description is evident… with long sentences beautifully rendered and evoking a world long lost to history, but welcoming all the same.
CNN.com


A coming-of-age novel in which Scout becomes her own woman…. Go Set a Watchman’s voice is beguiling and distinctive, and reminiscent of Mockingbird. (It) can’t be dismissed as literary scraps from Lee’s imagination. It has too much integrity for that.
Independent (UK)


Go Set a Watchman provides valuable insight into the generous, complex mind of one of America’s most important authors.
USA Today


Atticus’ complexity makes Go Set a Watchman worth reading. With Mockingbird, Harper Lee made us question what we know and who we think we are. Go Set a Watchman continues in this noble literary tradition.
New York Post


A deftly written tale…there’s something undeniably comforting and familiar about sinking into Lee’s prose once again.
People


As Faulkner said, the only good stories are the ones about the human heart in conflict with itself. And that’s a pretty good summation of Go Set a Watchman.
Daily Beast


Go Set a Watchman offers a rich and complex story… To make the novel about pinning the right label on Atticus is to miss the point.
Bloomberg View


Harper Lee’s second novel sheds more light on our world than its predecessor did.
Time


[Go Set a Watchman is a] brilliant book that ruthlessly examines race relations.
Denver Post


Go Set a Watchman is such an important book, perhaps the most important novel on race to come out of the white South in decades…
New York Times Opinion Pages: Taking Note

In this powerful newly published story about the Finch family, Lee presents a wider window into the white Southern heart, and tells us it is finally time for us all to shatter the false gods of the past and be free.
NPR's "Code Switch"


[Go Set a Watchman is] filled with the evocative language, realistic dialogue and sense of place that partially explains what made Mockingbird so beloved.
Buffalo News


The editor who rejected Lee's first effort had the right idea. [Watchman] is clearly the work of a novice, with poor characterization (how did the beloved Scout grow up to be such a preachy bore, even as she serves as the book's moral compass?), lengthy exposition, and ultimately not much story, unless you consider Scout thinking she's pregnant because she was French-kissed...compelling.... The temptation to publish another Lee novel was undoubtedly great, but it's a little like finding out there's no Santa Claus.
Publishers Weekly


Scout...[is] returning home from New York to Maycomb Junction, AL, post-Brown v. Board of Education and encountering strongly resistant states'-rights, anti-integrationist forces that include boyfriend Henry and, significantly, her father, Atticus Finch.... Readers shocked by that revelation must remember that...the work in hand is not a sequel but served as source material for Lee's eventual Pulitzer Prize winner, with such reworked characters a natural part of the writing and editing processes. —Barbara Hoffert
Library Journal


[Go Set a Watchman] too often reads like a first draft, but Lee's story nonetheless has weight and gravity.... As Scout wanders from porch to porch and parlor to parlor on both the black and white sides of the tracks, she hears stories that complicate her—and our—understanding of her father. To modern eyes, Atticus harbors racist sentiments.... Lee...writes of class, religion, and race, but most affectingly of the clash of generations and traditions.... It's not To Kill a Mockingbird, yes, but it's very much worth reading.
Kirkus Reviews

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