To Kill a Mockingbird sequel hits the stores

Harper Lee's first novel since the iconic To Kill a Mockingbird have gone on sale around the world • The novel is a prequel to the 1960 courtroom drama which notably tackles delicate issues like racism in the United States

14 July 2015, 9:09am
Harper Lee's new novel Go Set a Watchman has hit stores around the globe
Harper Lee's new novel Go Set a Watchman has hit stores around the globe
Copies of Harper Lee's eagerly awaited new novel Go Set a Watchman are now on sale in bookshops around the globe.

The book, set 20 years after the events of Lee's 1960 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel To Kill a Mockingbird, is Lee’s first novel since the critically acclaimed prequel. However, Go Set a Watchman  was actually written beforehand.

Watchman follows Scout, now known as 26-year-old Jean Louise by now, as she returns to her Alabama hometown from New York.

The book went on sale at midnight in the UK and is Amazon's most pre-ordered book since the final installment of the Harry Potter series.

Publicity-shy author Lee is now 89 and living in a nursing home in Monroeville, Alabama. Lee had originally written the book in 1957, before reworking it with her editor to become the iconic courtroom drama To Kill a Mockingbird.

The story of racism and injustice in the fictional town of Maycomb in the American South went on to sell 40 million copies and it has been studied in schools around the world.

Mockingbird, was also made into an Oscar-winning film starring Gregory Peck as lawyer Atticus Finch, who defends an innocent black man accused of raping a white woman.

The existence of Go Set a Watchman was revealed back in February and it is being released in 70 countries simultaneously.

The opening chapter of the novel was published for the first time on Friday, and reviews revelead revealed that in later years Finch had in fact become "a bigot".

Some critics have panned this change in personality, with the Wall Street Journal labelling it as “toppling of idols,” and a "a distressing book, that delivers a startling rebuttal to the shining idealism of To Kill a Mockingbird".

The New York Times further added that the revelation could "reshape Ms Lee's legacy”

The Telegraph, on the other hand gave Go Set a Watchman a two-star review with Gaby Wood writing "Harper Lee's editor deserves a Pulitzer for turning this ghostly first draft into the masterful To Kill a Mockingbird".