Harper Lee’s new novel, to be published in July and named “Go Set a Watchman,” was written over 50 years ago, before she even wrote “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
It focuses on Scout, 20 years in the future, when she comes back to town to visit her father, Atticus. According to Lee’s publisher, Scout “is forced to grapple with issues both personal and political as she tries to understand her father’s attitude toward society, and her own feelings about the place where she was born and spent her childhood.”
But there is some controversy over the new book because it took so long for Lee to publish it. According to Lee, she was unaware the manuscript for the new novel was still in existence. When it was discovered in a safe deposit box, some friends read it and suggested the idea of publishing.
People were also asking whether Lee was “duped” into publishing the new book, meaning that some think she was coerced.
Students and faculty at Castleton State College seem fairly neutral, yet intrigued about the new book.
“I think it’s cool that we’ll get to see the characters in the future, but at the same time I think it’s weird it was suddenly found all these years later; it makes me wonder if it’s really hers or not,” said Barbara Doyle, an English major as well as a published author herself.
Talla Caruso, also an English major, said she’s excited to read it.
“I think it will be interesting. I think after waiting so long and how loved her other book was, she will make a lot of money, but the criticism toward her writing will be harsher as people will read it closely and have a lot to say because of the success of the Mockingbird,” she said.
The chair of the English department, Andrew Alexander, said he thought there will be a “little bit of controversy” over the fact that Lee waited so long to publish another novel, but “I don’t have a problem with it.”
“I think her book will be judged more harshly, but I’m okay with it,” he said.
Fellow English professor Tersh Palmer seemed even more intrigued.
“I’m interested to read it just because of everything I’ve heard about it such as how it was apparently her first book, the one she wrote originally with the character as an adult with flashbacks and how her editor encouraged her to write a whole book about the childhood. She (Harper Lee) is such an interesting character because she never ever published anything else, she had this great success with one novel and never published anything else,” Palmer said.
And then there are those that could care less.
“I don’t care. I have no opinion on it at all,” said criminal justice major Dakota Jones.