The cover art for “Go Set a Watchman,” the long-awaited second novel by Harper Lee, has been unveiled by HarperCollins publishers. The image for the American release shows a train approaching a tree with yellow leaves, a nostalgic image reminiscent of the 1950s, when the book was first written.
Both the American and U.K. images were made public Wednesday, ratcheting up what has already been a rabid level of anticipation for the second book by the author of “To Kill a Mockingbird.” “Go Set a Watchman” takes place two decades after “To Kill A Mockingbird,” when Scout, the main character of that book, returns to her fictional hometown of Maycomb, Alabama. Yet the release of the book has been beset by controversy, with some accusing Lee’s lawyer of inappropriately pressuring Lee to publish it.
“Go Set a Watchman” is scheduled to be released on July 14, with the New York Times reporting the pre-orders on Amazon and Barnes and Noble are already building up quickly.
“This design is perfect -- it draws on the style of the decade the book was written, but with a modern twist,” publisher Michael Morrison said in a statement Wednesday. "‘Go Set a Watchman’ begins with Scout’s train ride home, but more profoundly, it is about the journey Harper Lee’s beloved characters have taken in the subsequent 20 years of their lives.”
The U.K. book jacket has a similarly vintage feel, depicting a bird on a tree against an orange background.
Lee’s biographer has accused her attorney, Tonya Carter, of taking advantage of an elderly woman who lives in a nursing home for what could be a massive financial reward. The allegations have inspired an Alabama state investigation into possible elder abuse. A press statement from HarperCollins, relayed to by Carter in February, said the author is “alive and kicking and happy as hell with the reactions [to] ‘Watchman.’”