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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
4,8443281,394 (3.35)3 / 265
  1. 122
    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. 20
    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 (316)  Spanish (3)  Italian (2)  German (2)  Norwegian (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (325)
Showing 1-5 of 316 (next | show all)
I would give this more stars if I didn't know the story behind it. She was basically forced to publish a book that clearly wasn't ready to be published. It felt incomplete. It felt a little sad. Too bad. ( )
  thisismelissaanne | Oct 29, 2018 |
Go Set A Watchman is no To Kill A Mockingbird, its not a sequel (even though it can be read like one mistakenly), and it’s obviously a early version of a story that needs some work. The focus is on Scout visiting home from New York after segregation has been deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. Jean Louise realizes her father and her love interest are racists and it shatters her image of her father and her town. Some plot points lead no where, there are long speeches that are confusing, and frankly there are just some characters and events I don’t care about. There is a good moral story, stand up for your beliefs and don’t runaway from a challenge.

I believe Go Set a Watchman will become a footnote in literary history. It won’t become a classic that is taught in school like To Kill A Mockingbird is and there really is no comparing the two. Watchman can stand on its own as a decent book, but clearly it led to a better formed book and does not take anything away from Mockingbird. It can easily be seen as a sequel with the thinking that Mockingbird is from Scout’s perspective as a child and then as an adult in Watchman she finds out about the real Atticus, but this is wrong. They are not the same characters and its not the same story. The book is enjoyable on its own, it has its faults, but overall its a good story. 3.5/5 ( )
  wellreadcatlady | Oct 4, 2018 |
This review contains spoilers.

Ever since I read To Kill a Mocking Bird, I've wanted another Harper Lee book to devour. So when I passed a bookshop and saw the bright orange covers I just had to get one.

As a follow up to "To Kill a Mocking Bird", Go Set Watchmen chronicles Jean-Louis Finch's return to Maycomb to look after her aging father. But when she gets home, Jean-Louis, aka Scout, finds that things have changed. Scout finds herself torn between the town and family she loved and what has become of it.

Harper Lee touched on some interesting topics including the race, politics, feminism, and more.

Mostly this book was about why people in the south opposed the civil rights movement.

What I liked
I liked going back to Maycomb and "visiting" with Jean-Louis, Aunt Alexandra, and Atticus. I really felt like I was going back there with her and seeing everyone again after "all these year". I also liked the sections in the book where Scout reminisces about her youth, her rows with Cal, and annoyances with Jem. I guess it was more the nostalgia of it all than anything else.

I also liked Chapter 18 and 19 - I think. These are chapters where Scout speaks to her uncle who gives her some perspective on everything that's been happening. He helps her understand why her father and fiance hold the views they hold and tries to "make her see the light".

The reason I like these chapters isn't because they were amazing pieces of prose but rather they voiced the other side of the civil rights discourse. Usually, literature about civil rights or any other liberation theme is one dimensional. We hear about those being violated and why it is their right to protest.

But we seldom hear, see, or read literature that says why these movements are opposed. And I think that's what Harper was trying to achieve with this book - and in these two chapters in particular.

I also feel that it's important that such voices exist in our age because too many movements seek acceptance and tolerance - which they are entitled to - but that doesn't make the opposition hateful. Everyone has an opinion - a point of view and we need to learn to tolerate that and accept that we don't agree.

What I didn't like
I didn't like this book. It was really disappointing. As mentioned above I appreciate the voice it gives those who opposed the struggle but this book was unnecessarily long, there was no real, clear plot. It dragged on forever. I kept hoping it gets better. There is also a recurring theme where everyone tells Scout to "You don't understand", or "Try looking at things from my perspective" - which is fine but it felt like everyone was telling Scout We are right you are wrong. Also after her conversation with her uncle Scout is so mad that she wants to leave and then after her uncle slaps her she suddenly has an epiphany and everything makes sense. In two sentences she goes from "I'm leaving don't stop me" to "It all makes sense now" which is ridiculous. And disappointing and after that paragraph I skipped to the last page and ended my misery.

Jem died! What?! And I missed Dill.

I wouldn't recommend this book. Unless you want to get some insight into why people in the South opposed the civil rights movement.
( )
  crimsonjade | Aug 30, 2018 |
This is the must read companion book to TKAM...after all, it was Harper Lee's initial story about the pervasive racism in the south. The relentless efforts to "keep negroes in their place" is not a pretty story in any decade.
Reading Go Set A Warchman in the aftermath of the hateful slaying of nine beautiful members of the AME Emanuel church here in my hometown helped me understand the sources of all the hatred and racism in the South. The same Ignorant racism that was around in 1932, and 1954 is still here. ( )
  ioplibrarian | Aug 26, 2018 |
A coming of age story as Scout, Jean Louis Finch, comes home to Maycomb, Alabama from New York to discover that her father, Atticus Finch, holds some unpalatable views. Set in the heat of the civil rights movement, race and racism loom large in this sequel to Kill a Mocking Bird and there are times when it reads more as a polemic than a novel. ( )
  sianpr | Jul 29, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 316 (next | show all)
And so beneath Atticus’s style of enlightenment is a kind of bigotry that could not recognize itself as such at the time. The historical and human fallacies of the Agrarian ideology hardly need to be rehearsed now, but it should be said that these views were not regarded as ridiculous by intellectuals at the time. Indeed, Jean Louise/Lee herself, though passionately opposed to what her uncle and her father are saying, nevertheless accepts the general terms of the debate as the right ones.
added by danielx | editNew Yorker, Adam Gopnik (Jul 27, 2015)
Go Set a Watchman is a troubling confusion of a novel, politically and artistically, beginning with its fishy origin story. .. I ached for this adult Scout: The civil rights movement may be gathering force, but the second women's movement hasn't happened yet. I wanted to transport Scout to our own time — take her to a performance of Fun Home on Broadway — to know that, if she could only hang on, the possibilities for nonconforming tomboys will open up. Lee herself, writing in the 1950s, lacks the language and social imagination to fully develop this potentially powerful theme.
added by danielx | editNPR books, Maureen Corrigan (Jul 13, 2015)
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)

» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lee, Harperprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Drews, KristiinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Johansson, EvaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Witherspoon, ReeseReadersecondary 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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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
From Harper Lee comes a landmark new novel set two decades after her beloved Pulitzer Prize–winning masterpiece, To Kill a Mockingbird.

Maycomb, Alabama. Twenty-six-year-old Jean Louise Finch—"Scout"—returns home from New York City to visit her aging father, Atticus. Set against the backdrop of the civil rights tensions and political turmoil that were transforming the South, Jean Louise's homecoming turns bittersweet when she learns disturbing truths about her close-knit family, the town, and the people dearest to her. Memories from her childhood flood back, and her values and assumptions are thrown into doubt. Featuring many of the iconic characters from To Kill a Mockingbird, Go Set a Watchman perfectly captures a young woman, and a world, in painful yet necessary transition out of the illusions of the past—a journey that can only be guided by one's own conscience.

Written in the mid-1950s, Go Set a Watchman imparts a fuller, richer understanding and appreciation of Harper Lee. Here is an unforgettable novel of wisdom, humanity, passion, humor, and effortless precision—a profoundly affecting work of art that is both wonderfully evocative of another era and relevant to our own times. It not only confirms the enduring brilliance of To Kill a Mockingbird, but also serves as its essential companion, adding depth, context, and new meaning to an American classic.
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)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Twenty years after the trial of Tom Robinson, Scout returns home to Maycomb to visit her father and struggles with personal and political issues as her small Alabama town adjusts to the turbulent events beginning to transform the United States in the mid-1950s.… (more)

» see all 15 descriptions

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