Legendary American author Harper Lee is adding to her singularly-populated genius oeuvre next week, with the release of ‘Go Set A Watchman‘ on July 14, a sequel to the iconic ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’.
Announced earlier this year, the news came as a wildcard out of thin air – the manuscript was penned before Mockingbird’s release, and set aside for decades. Only this year its discovery was made known, after quietly biding time in a safety deposit box for 55 years. The manuscript is reportedly as virtually untouched to match (side note: according to the New York Times, the plot thickened over the manuscript’s alleged discovery, proffering a theory that Lee’s sister and caretaker Alice would not have approved of its release, if she were alive) – Jason Steger spoke on ABC News this morning, claiming the novel was a rare treasure, being edited only for “a couple of typos“.
— News Breakfast (@BreakfastNews) July 10, 2015
What anticipation the literary world could have been clutching on to for years—but didn’t, because we had no idea of its existence—has quickly compensated for all the lost time, as The Sydney Morning Herald reports today that ‘Go Set A Watchman’ pre-order numbers on Amazon are surging through the roof, rivalling a record Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows set in 2007.
Figures of those pre-order numbers haven’t been made available, but a run of 2 million copies has reportedly been ordered by HarperCollins. ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’, one of the most successful novels of all time, has sold approximately 40 million copies worldwide.
‘Go Set A Watchman’ is the sequel to ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’, following a now-adult Scout and her father Atticus Finch, twenty years after the events of ‘Mockingbird’. A synopsis reads, “Returning home to Maycomb to visit her father, Jean Louise Finch—Scout—struggles with issues both personal and political, involving Atticus, society, and the small Alabama town that shaped her.”
This afternoon at 2pm, Fairfax and The Guardian will simultaneously publish the first chapter of ‘Go Set A Watchman’ across its titles online, in the novel’s debut public release. Saturday editions of SMH and The Age will also publish the first chapter tomorrow.