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Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

Go Set a Watchman (2015)

by Harper Lee

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
3,9602881,295 (3.37)3 / 255
  1. 121
    To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (JuliaMaria, KayCliff)
    JuliaMaria: Harper Lee hat nur zwei Bücher veröffentlicht. Das zweite - "Gehe hin, stelle einen Wächter" - erst mit 90 Jahren - auch wenn es schon früher geschrieben wurde. Es war die literarische Sensation des Jahres 2015.
    KayCliff: Go Set a Watchman is the sequel to To Kill a Mocking Bird
  2. 52
    The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers (Cecrow)
    Cecrow: Another story of the south by an author with similar background.
  3. 20
    The Optimist's Daughter by Eudora Welty (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Moving and bittersweet, these Southern Gothic novels portray women pushed to their emotional limits as they return home and re-establish old relationships. Both are literary and character-driven, with a thoughtful style that also references mid-twentieth-century events and attitudes.… (more)
  4. 10
    Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor (amanda4242)
  5. 10
    The Keepers of the House by Shirley Ann Grau (vwinsloe)
    vwinsloe: Southern values shortly before the civil rights era
  6. 00
    Four Spirits by Sena Jeter Naslund (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Although Go Set a Watchman takes a more humorous approach than Four Spirits, both novels, set in the mid-twentieth-century South, spotlight the effects of the Civil Rights Movement on individuals. They are captivating, character-driven cameos representing society as a whole.… (more)
  7. 00
    Tongues of flame by Mary Ward Brown (andrewcorser)
    andrewcorser: Further insight into the Southern States

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English (280)  Spanish (3)  Italian (2)  Norwegian (1)  German (1)  Dutch (1)  All (288)
Showing 1-5 of 280 (next | show all)
I was late onto the bandwagon. I ghought this book had to be oh so much hype. I was wrong. To Kill a Mockingbird was not ruined, it was enhanced. This was easily one of the better books I've read in teh last five years. ( )
  Eric.Cone | Sep 28, 2017 |
Much of the to-do in the media talks about Go Tell A Watchman as a sequel to Mockingbird. However, Although the events in Watchman take place twenty years after Mockingbird, it would be incorrect to think of these as a sequel. Watchman was actually written first. It was, apparently, submitted to a publisher who urged Lee to focus on Jean Louise's childhood and her father's famous trial. Told through the innocent eyes of a child, Mockingbird became an instant classic and a powerful piece of literature for the civil rights era. The message in Mockingbird was more subtle than in Watchman. It also captured vividly childhood innocence. Once Lee published Mockingbird, she never published another novel until in her old age the original Waychman manuscript was found and brought forth.
As a standalone novel, Watchman is a slow, ponderous story about a young lady's return to her small Southern hometown after living in New York. Returning to her home was incredibly disappointing. Her father who could do no wrong suddenly has feet of clay. This story is clearly about the civil rights era and it uses the opportunity to hit you over the head with its message. It's also a young woman's coming of age story ala Judy Blume.As an additional layer of depth overlaying Mockingbird, the book is interesting. It makes Atticus more complex, more nuanced. He may have defended Robinson, but he's still a Southerner. ( )
  DaveWilde | Sep 22, 2017 |
This book was a mixed experience. The thrill that it exists, the excitement of having new moments with classic characters, more of Lee’s writing style, and what-could-have-beens, as well as, the crash and burn when your favorite character, a hero for the ages, has morphed into a narrow-minded old man, fearful of change, on the wrong side of history.

It’s surreal. I feel like the Scout from “To Kill A Mockingbird” should wake up from a nightmare “Wizard of Oz” style and point to Atticus and say, “And you were there,” to Uncle Jack, “And you were there,” to Jem, “And you were kinda there,” and way over to Boo in corner, “And you weren’t there.”

Basically, you’ve probably already heard that readers travel down the rabbit hole when Scout returns to her hometown from the city to visit her aging father. While there, she reminisces about how the town has physically changed, her childhood, and teen years. There are some hilarious scenes about her further adventures with Jem and Dill, which ultimately make the book worth reading. However, the town and the people in it are also changing emotionally. Her high school crush is trying to press her into marriage, her heroes fall from grace, and she sees opposition to the rights of black citizens growing all around her. Scout is now an outsider, set like a watchman, as the people to whom she loves change.

Overall, if the characters names were changed and Harper Lee’s name removed, it would be a good but flawed book, belonging on the shelf with “The Help.” I would say that the main character was annoyingly naïve about her dad. She looks at her father as a blameless, perfect man. Apparently, she has never been angry with him before or had reason to think he is not a saint. Then she uncovers a hateful secret about him, the blindfold is off, and she has a meltdown. Instead of acting on her anger right away, either by calling him out or running away, as I would imagine an educated, independent woman would do, she mopes and mopes. She had no problem arguing with her aunt or expressing herself to her would-be boyfriend, but her dad is off-limits. Of course, if you know her dad is Atticus Finch, the character we all consider blameless, it makes sense. Change the name and you have no idea why she worships her father so much.

It’s a brave book, about a setting that a lot of authors would never touch. Few people could really capture it. Although I hate Atticus’ morph, I agree with other reviews, that realistically, there were a lot of men just like him during this era. But I can see why the publisher wasn’t keen on the story at the time. Prior to the realty tv world we live in, people wanted characters who were idealized, heroes who were all good and villains who were all bad.

To me the flashbacks of Scout’s childhood really stand out and shine. I think the publisher made the right call asking for a novel about her childhood. “To Kill A Mockingbird” is still superior. I wanted a little more development and backstory of adult Scout and elder Atticus in “Go Set A Watchman.” If you haven’t read or seen “To Kill A Mockingbird,” I don’t know how well “Go Set A Watchman” would stand on its own. But it is a thought-provoking read and well worth your time.
( )
  vonze | Sep 19, 2017 |
Please allow me to begin with a disclaimer. To Kill A Mockingbird is my favorite book. I read it for the first time, like many of us, in high school literature. I was in the honors class that term reading alongside the more well-to-do, predominantly white students of the school (class divides society in many ways that are often unquestioned), and I suddenly understood writing as a living substance extraordinarily exquisite. It is beauty that comes from themes, questions, risk, hurt, laughter, awareness, politics, faith, reality, hate, and love. I realized a book can raise one's consciousness to ideas and ideals never yet considered. For the first time I understood as a reader one struggles, rejoices, questions, decides, embraces, fights, agrees, and disputes. To Kill A Mockingbird touched my soul, cliché as it may sound, in a way that knocked me hard and laid me flat on the floor. I have never recovered. Every book I read, every book I rate, is placed in comparison to To Kill A Mockingbird. Following my reviews on Goodreads reveals that no book has made five stars in my ratings. That rating is reserved for To Kill A Mockingbird. I await the day when another book touches me as much.

Go Set A Watchman did not touch me as did To Kill A Mockingbird. However, I do not want anyone to read my comment only to jump on the disappointed bandwagon of woeful reviews that have garnered media space about the book. This book is beautiful. I am going to say this again. This book is beautiful. It is Ms. Lee's completion of the story of Scout Finch that needed to have its audience.

By now, everyone who follows the world of books knows Go Set A Watchman reveals Atticus Finch is a racist. Most reviews focus on this point and lament the loss of their icon...of their God. One reviewer I heard yesterday on NPR's The Takeaway stated how he felt incomplete with the ending because he wanted Atticus to say that all that was revealed was to purpose rather than a personal truth − that a happy ending was indeed secured with the reviewer's dear Atticus intact. I wonder if such reviewers cannot see the book except as a reflection of To Kill A Mockingbird. Have they placed upon its shoulders too much expectation and pressure? Now that I have read the book, I feel concentrating on this lamented loss is selfish of reviewers and, I believe, misses Ms. Lee's bigger point. The two Atticus Finch’s, the racist and the man who lives his life by justice, can co-exist. Fairness and equality do not necessarily co-habitate easily or cleanly in someone’s belief system. There exists justice and justice, right and right.

To read Go Set A Watchman requires us to reflect on ourselves. How exactly did we see our families when we are young? Was your dad your hero and God, as Atticus was Scout's? How many have experienced a wave of skeletons tumbling out of closets once the matriarch and/or patriarch of the family had died? All of a sudden, everything thought known about those who raised us is put into question. Did we accurately see what we witnessed? Did we see what we wanted to see? The truth is often hard to accept instead leaving us dazed, confused, and very often, angry. Do we cut off our family, or do we still love them when the truth is revealed and our heroes and Gods become human?

We must remember that no matter who Atticus was, and he appears to be a very complicated character (as complicated as any man or woman in existence), the way Scout experienced and witnessed Atticus developed her into the person she was — someone who did not run and who believed in equality. Should Atticus be chastised or applauded for Scout’s development? I think that is as difficult a question as the racial question in America itself. But, I believe in this book Harper Lee did what she needed to do. She made Atticus Finch human and birthed the rest of us into our own person to stand on our own two feet − and it was a bloody, violent, painful risk, but a risk needed.
( )
  Christina_E_Mitchell | Sep 9, 2017 |
I started this book a couple of years ago at a cottage but put it aside when I returned home. Picking it up again during the current Confederate monuments debate and post-Charlottesville gave it immediacy. Sure, it's different from To Kill A Mockingbird. A somewhat different Atticus, a darker tale. I'm OK with that and very much enjoyed it. ( )
  heggiep | Sep 7, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 280 (next | show all)
Despite the boldness and bravery of its politics, Go Set a Watchman is a very rough diamond in literary terms … it is a book of enormous literary interest, and questionable literary merit.
added by Widsith | editThe Independent, Arifa Akbar (Jul 13, 2015)
It is, in most respects, a new work, and a pleasure, revelation and genuine literary event, akin to the discovery of extra sections from T S Eliot’s The Waste Land or a missing act from Hamlet hinting that the prince may have killed his father.
added by Widsith | editThe Guardian, Mark Lawson (Jul 12, 2015)
Watchman is both a painful complication of Harper Lee’s beloved book and a confirmation that a novel read widely by schoolchildren is far more bitter than sweet. Watchman is alienating from the very start.
added by Widsith | editTime, Daniel D'Addario (Jul 11, 2015)
On one hand, this abrupt redefinition of a famed fictional character is fascinating. … Yet for the millions who hold that novel dear, “Go Set a Watchman” will be a test of their tolerance and capacity for forgiveness. At the peak of her outrage, Jean Louise tells her father, “You’ve cheated me in a way that’s inexpressible.” I don’t doubt that many who read this novel are going to feel the same way.
A lumpy tale about a young woman’s grief over her discovery of her father’s bigoted views … The depiction of Atticus in “Watchman” makes for disturbing reading, and for “Mockingbird” fans, it’s especially disorienting.

» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lee, Harperprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Drews, KristiinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Johansson, EvaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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In memory of Mr. Lee and Alice
First words
Since Atlanta, she had looked out the dining-car window with a delight almost physical.
"Every man's island, Jean Louise, every man's watchman, is his conscience." "There is no such thing as a collective conscious".
"Aunty," she said, cordially, "why don't you go pee in your hat?"
I need a watchman to lead me around and declare what he seeth every hour on the hour.  I need a watchman to tell me this is what a man says but this is what he means, to draw a line down the middle and say here is this justice and there is that justice and make me understand the difference. I need a watchman to go forth and proclaim to them all that twenty-six years is too long to play a joke on anybody, no matter how funny it is.
I was taught never to take advantage of anybody who was less fortunate than myself, whether he be less fortunate in brains, wealth, or social position; it meant anybody, not just Negroes. I was given to understand that the reverse was to be despised. That is the way I was raised, by a black woman and a white man.
I detest the sound of it as much as its matter
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
A draft of what was eventually substantially reworked into To Kill a Mockingbird, Go Set a Watchman is the story of Jean Louise Finch returning to her hometown of Maycomb, Alabama, as a young woman. Initially resting easily in the comforts and memories of home, Jean Louise discovers a shocking truth that forces her to reexamine everything she thought she knew about family.
Haiku summary
Scout Finch returns home/Atticus is a racist/Scout sees him anew (waitingtoderail)

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0062409859, Hardcover)

A wonderful new novel from one of America's bestselling authors. Exploring the tensions between a local culture and a changing national political agenda; family arguments and love: an instant classic.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:01:11 -0400)

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