Harper Lee’s followup to the classic To Kill a Mockingbird doesn’t hit shelves until July 14, but Go Set a Watchman has already received its first review. Robert Thomson, the chief executive of News Corp (which owns publisher Harper Collins) read the book and believes it will be huge. “I expect it to have a profound impact,” he said on Tuesday night.
The story follows a grown-up Scout 20 years after the first novel takes place. She returns to her childhood home in Alabama to visit her father, Atticus Finch. While it’s being published more than half a century after her debut, the book was actually completed before To Kill A Mockingbird and Lee revealed that her editor at the time was “taken by the flashbacks to Scout’s childhood” and encouraged her to pen a novel from the younger Scout’s point of view.
“I was a first-time writer, so I did as I was told,” Lee said in a statement. “I hadn’t realized it (the original book) had survived, so was surprised and delighted when my dear friend and lawyer Tonja Carter discovered it. I am humbled and amazed that this will now be published after all these years.”
The book has already seen its share of controversy over the last few months with claims that Lee was tricked into publishing it. Now 89, she currently lives in an assisted-living facility and is said to have been “hurt” and “humiliated” by these accusations.