Review: Go Set a Watchman, by Harper Lee

Go Set a Watchman (To Kill a Mockingbird)Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If a person were to write only two books in their lifetime of the calibre of Harper Lee’s small canon, then they would have achieved something very great indeed.

While I realize there was much controversy surrounding Lee’s sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird, which I first discovered and loved in English literature class in secondary school, for this devotee of literature I found no such need to listen to any debate.

From the first paragraph to the last, Lee proves herself a remarkable writer and consummate story-teller. Go Set a Watchman is a perfect completion of the story she published back in 1960, and although it is set 20 years later than To Kill a Mockingbird, in some ways the story also serves as a prequel, filling in some of the backstory around Atticus Finch and his raison d’etre.

Lee circles back to the reality of racial prejudice, and this time through the adult perception of Jean Louise Finch, who sees her father for the clever, amoral manipulator of law and justice that he is, seemingly serving the upholding of what is right and just, while in fact serving his uglier agenda of eliminating Black presence in his community and life.

It is a story about shattered faith and relationships, about the implacable nature of bigotry and religious conviction, and is told through simple, elegant prose.

This is a story worth reading, and a book worthy of space on your library shelves.

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