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Image / Editorial

Reese Witherspoon Narrates First Chapter Of New Harper Lee Novel


by Jennifer McShane
11th Jul 2015
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To Kill A Mockingbird

There is much excitement in the literary world as next week sees the official release of the new novel from Harper Lee. Go Set A Watchman, Lee’s sequel to her iconic To Kill A Mockingbird will be released on July 14th around the world and sees us united with Scout (now known as Jean Louise Finch) now 20 years older as she travels from New York back to her Alabama hometown by train to visit her father. To Kill a Mockingbird was published in 1960, and went on to win the Pulitzer Prize.

Ever since Harper Lee announced her intentions to follow up on what many will agree is a quite perfect literary classic, the controversy has been rife (there has been endless tales of the manuscript lying unseen and rejected for years, and some report Lee, who has lived as a recluse for decades, was ?pressured? into getting the novel published), resulting in pre-sales so big that Watchman is set to take the crown away from the JK Rowling’s Harry Potter sales. An impressive feat to be sure. Major excitement is being generated ahead of next week with many bookstores around the globe opting for midnight openings for eager fans and special screenings of the Mockingbird movie (one of Gregory Peck’s finest, Academy Award winning roles) being organised.

Reese Witherspoonnarrates the first chapter of Harper Lee's new novel'Go Set A Watchman.'
Reese Witherspoon narrates the first chapter of Harper Lee’s new novel ‘Go Set A Watchman.’

The first chapter, released via The Guardian on Friday and narrated by actress Reese Witherspoon (who sounds more Southern than usual of course), has been enough to wet the appetites of fans, but the reviews have been less than glowing so far. We won’t give too much away here for those that wish to read the chapter for themselves, as we’ll be saving our judgment until after we’ve read the book in its entirety.

We think no book, no matter how good its sequel, could ever manage to live up to the hype that Watchman has generated thus far (realistically how often does that ever happen), and it certainly has stiff competition from its predecessor but we’re eager to read the book ourselves, and if you have 20 minutes this Saturday evening, the opening chapter (all hype aside) is well worth a read or listen.

You can listen to Reese read the chapter HERE.

Are you excited for the book?

Via The Guardian