The First Chapter Of Harper Lee's 'Go Set a Watchman' Has Arrived, And Readers Are Thrilled

Enthusiasm, along with criticism, is already rolling in.

Amidst the building anticipation for Harper Lee’s novel Go Set a Watchman, which releases in full on Tuesday, July 14, The Wall Street Journal and The Guardian have published excerpts of the book’s first chapter. 

The latter publication dressed up the text with illustrations and an audio recording by Reese Witherspoon, whose smooth voice accompanies the chapter perfectly. The former took a no-frills approach, allowing readers to interpret the text as they please.

The novel begins with a grown-up Scout, known now as Jean Louise Finch, taking a regular visit back home, riding a train from New York to Maycomb rather than her preferred route, by air. The story’s told in third person; we learn that Jean Louise, like Scout, “was a person who, when confronted with an easy way out, always took the hard way.”

Enthusiasm, along with criticism, is already rolling in. Some readers are celebrating further insight into Scout’s adult lives, while others are lamenting the quality of the writing.

Below, Twitter’s responses to the first chapter of Go Set a Watchman:

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