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12 February 2016

Go Set a Watchman, by Harper Lee

Background
This is the only other novel by Harper Lee, after To Kill A Mocking Bird (TKAM). It is set twenty years ahead of TKAM and was thought to be a sequel. However it later turned out to be the original draft of TKAM; back then on the suggestion of the publisher, the multiple flashbacks that happen were developed into a complete novel to publish TKAM (As Wikipedia says). 55 years later, the first draft of TKAM was published as Go Set A Watchman.

Plot
Scout or Jean Louise Finch, now a 26-year old girl who stays alone in New York, comes home to Maycomb on her annual visit home. However she realises things are not what they seem. They never have been. Her hero, Atticus Finch is different too. She always has held him as the gold standard for a human being. So how does she react to her peculiar situation? Or is it that things have always been that way, and it is she who has always looked at situations the way she wanted them to be, and not the way they actually have been? Scout is fighting a mental war with multiple insecurities, so who wins finally?
This sums up the storyline of basically the entire book.

My Thoughts
Well, since I read TKAM pretty late, and read this book immediately after that, I didn't adore Atticus Finch for years together before discovering a different facet of his persona. Say ten years from now, JK Rowling decides to tell us Dumbledore was actually a muggle-hater, and believed in the ideal of For The Greater Good, how would you feel? I draw a similar comparison on what this novel is likely to do to the image of the righteous, just lawyer of Atticus Finch that one would've carried for over five decades. It all ultimately depends on how you've looked at Atticus all this while.

The pace of narration is laidback; it's not a page turner as TKAM was. And it's impossible to avoid comparison, even subconsciously with the earlier book. Many characters make their appearance again, plus there are interesting new ones. There are sad surprises too. Certain things have changed around Maycomb, yet the town is trying hard not to lose it Maycomb-ness (something that I can very much relate to my hometown, Mangalore). It would be nice if Boo Radley had made an appearance.

I'd definitely recommend everyone who's read TKAM to read this book. As far as possible, try to put little Scout out of your mind when you begin reading Go Set A Watchman

Rating: I'd say a 7 out of 10.

CLICK HERE for my thoughts on To Kill A Mockingbird.

(Picture sourced, and book bought from Amazon)

6 comments:

  1. sounds like a good book.. I'll add it to my list... thanks Piyu :-)

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    Replies
    1. Do read it, but try not to compare with TKAM.

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  2. Its a general opinion that Go Set a Watchmen is nowhere near TKAM.....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agree, as I mentioned one cannot avoid comparison with TKAM. However as a stand-alone piece of work, it's quite okay.

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  3. wow...need to read this one. Loved TKAM...looks like this new book will spoil it for me:(

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