The first chapter of Harper Lee's new novel, “Go Set A Watchman,” the sequel to the Pulitzer Prize-winning 1960 book, “To Kill A Mockingbird,” has been published in the Guardian.
The novel, which was written before “To Kill A Mockingbird,” follows the journey of that book's narrator, Scout Finch, from New York to visit her father, Atticus, in Alabama. The book is scheduled to be released on July 14.
The published chapter details Scout's journey by train from New York to Alabama, and includes her reflections on members of her family, her hometown and her meeting with Henry Clinton, who the narrative describes as “her lifelong friend, her brother’s comrade, and if he kept on kissing her like that, her husband.”
The novel's discovery was announced in February and set off a storm of fan anticipation. To date, “To Kill A Mockingbird,” is Lee's only published novel, and the publication of her second book looks set to prompt the kind of roll-out from bookstores not seen since the days of the Harry Potter books.
The novel is already the most preordered book in publisher HarperCollins’s history, and is the most preordered print title of 2015 on Amazon.com, according to the New York Times.
Bookstores in the U.S. and U.K. will be hosting special events to mark the book's release. In the U.K., stores will open outside of normal business hours, while one plans to host a Southern-themed event with a Dixie jazz band, the BBC reported.
“To Kill A Mockingbird” is considered to be one of the twentieth century's most important works of fiction, and is one of the most widely read novels dealing with the issue of race in the United States. It is included on high-school reading lists throughout the English-speaking world, and remains popular with both children and adults, having sold over 30 million copies. And, a 2010 poll conducted to mark World Book Day -- 50 years after the novel was published -- placed the book ahead of the Bible in terms of respondents' favorite works, the BBC reported.
Lee, 89, is famously private, rarely gives interviews and will not be doing any publicity for the book's release.
You can read the full chapter here.