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Publisher's Summary

Performed by Reese Witherspoon

Number one New York Times best seller

Go Set a Watchman is such an important book, perhaps the most important novel on race to come out of the white South in decades." (New York Times)

A landmark novel by Harper Lee, set two decades after her beloved Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece, To Kill a Mockingbird.

Twenty-six-year-old Jean Louise Finch - “Scout” - returns home to Maycomb, Alabama from New York City to visit her aging father, Atticus. Set against the backdrop of the civil rights tensions and political turmoil that were transforming the South, Jean Louise’s homecoming turns bittersweet when she learns disturbing truths about her close-knit family, the town, and the people dearest to her. 

Memories from her childhood flood back, and her values and assumptions are thrown into doubt. Featuring many of the iconic characters from To Kill a Mockingbird, Go Set a Watchman perfectly captures a young woman, and a world, in painful yet necessary transition out of the illusions of the past - a journey that can only be guided by one’s own conscience. 

Written in the mid-1950s, Go Set a Watchman imparts a fuller, richer understanding and appreciation of the late Harper Lee. Here is an unforgettable novel of wisdom, humanity, passion, humor, and effortless precision - a profoundly affecting work of art that is both wonderfully evocative of another era and relevant to our own times. 

It not only confirms the enduring brilliance of To Kill a Mockingbird, but also serves as its essential companion, adding depth, context, and new meaning to an American classic. 

©2015 Harper Lee (P)2015 HarperCollins Publishers

Critic Reviews

"All [characters] are portrayed by Witherspoon with perfect pitch and pacing, and the sure hand of a talented actress who is well aware of the region's racially fraught past." (AudioFile)

Featured Article: The Best Celebrity Narrated Audiobooks


It’s likely you have a favorite actor, someone you can’t wait to see in a new movie or television series. But many of your favorite performers are also acclaimed audiobook narrators. It’s always a delight to pick up a familiar story and find an unexpected famous friend in the narrator’s booth, especially when that celebrity has a talent for narration. This list features some of literature’s greatest stories brought to life by some of Hollywood’s greatest talents.

What listeners say about Go Set a Watchman

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
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To Kill A Mockingbird vs Go Set A Watchman

I hesitate to step into the turmoil of writing a review here of this newly released and much anticipated novel from Harper Lee. Like many of the reviewers here on audible I read and loved To Kill A Mocking Bird as a child and watched the movie and fell in love with the characters and the south portrayed so beautifully. Like many, the movie subtly took over for the book in my mind, without my awareness and I remembered them as a blur together.

Several months ago I decided to reread To Kill A Mockingbird. Goodness was I shocked. It was not the story from the movie, not the beloved book from my childhood, not a book for children. In the end, a much darker and more forbidding tale than I had remembered. Much of the deeper story had eluded me as a child. As an adult a new story line, even a different book appeared. Mockingbird became a raw, multilayered look at life, families, and the rough and often hateful ways people treat others--neighbors, enemies, children and friends alike. Filled with hypocrisy, double standards and shameful behavior exposed through the eyes of a child, Scout.

I read all the back stories about this new manuscript and I was filled with anticipation for this "adult" book from Harper Lee. My understanding is that this book, Go Set A Watchman, was not a "reject" as suggested here; but that the publisher wished to soften the story by changing the perspective and having the words and social commentary come from the voice of a child. This change in focus made it easier to get a difficult message across without offending the target audience. To me, Go Set A Watchman, is a very different, very adult book. Not easily read by any means, and at the same time impossible to put down.

My advice is to keep an open mind and give this beautiful book a chance. It is not often in a reader's life that we are given a chance to experience a world, created by an author, "age" and to see the characters come full circle to adulthood. I for one view this as a gift and a surprise I never in a million years expected. They are each good and valuable books and harsh comparisons are a waste. My suggestion is to read both books, allow them a chance to stand on their own and decide for yourself. To me it was definitely worth the time. I loved it.

425 people found this helpful

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Ignore the reviews, just read the book.

Despite all the controversy surrounding this novel, even negative reviews from my favorite magazine The New Yorker, I choose to decide for myself, and the verdict is I Loved it. My only memory of To Kill a Mocking Bird was from the school days, and the book title was the only thing I remembered. So I dived in without any preexisting expectations.

I can use more words to describe how wonderfully complex and enjoyable and at times tormenting the novel is, but truth is, if you have at anytime in your life witnessed any form of prejudice, and felt uneasy, you will be able to relate with Scout.

Here is my favorite Quote:

“Prejudice, a dirty word, and faith, a clean one, have something in common: they both begin where reason ends.”.

112 people found this helpful

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good book, bad performance

I think the book was good overall. Alot of back story had to be filled in to get to the final message off the book, which seemed anticlimactic but a good message. Because of this the story could get slow in some spots. I was really hoping to enjoy Witherspoon reading, but found it difficult to follow dialogue between characters because she wouldn't change her tone often and when she did it was comical, it was like she was a teacher changing the voices in a story for a group of preschoolers. If another person would have read it, it would have been better.

10 people found this helpful

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Flawed but interesting after reading To Kill...

To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my all-time favorite novels, and so I had to read or listen to this. Reese Witherspoon as narrator made it easy for me to opt for the audiobook. In this, Scout Finch is a 20-something, living in New York, and visiting her hometown in the south. She is trying to figure out which world she belongs in. This is a very flawed novel, with very little happening. It was hard to stay focused for the first half of the novel. Harper Lee does succeed in making the time and place come alive (the 50's in the south).There is an authenticity that is often lacking when modern authors try to take us back to that same place and time. Harper Lee is a very good writer, but there is so little plot here, that the story does not really stand on its own. That said, I did enjoy the second half because I already had a strong relationship with the main characters from To Kill a Mockingbird. This novel had some strong moments, and I am glad that I listened. Reese Witherspoon was a perfect narrator.

19 people found this helpful

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Better than Mockingbird

Would you consider the audio edition of Go Set a Watchman to be better than the print version?

While To Kill a Mockingbird has all the elements of a noble American tale (and all the drama that the cinema demands), this is actually the better book. It is more complex and nuanced. It is also the perfect for the current debate in American about the Confederate Flag, which is both a symbol of the Southern culture and the continuation of racism. The people in the book, including Aticus Finch, do not believe they are racist, a delusion that affects many people today. Well written and well structured, this is the book that Harper Lee should be remembered for. Mockingbird was a screenplay.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Go Set a Watchman?

The conversation between Scout and her father.

Which character – as performed by Reese Witherspoon – was your favorite?

Scout.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Disturbing and prophetic.

7 people found this helpful

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Awesome

I'm a African American male and I must say this book made me think of things differently. It made me open my eyes to all the different people and different viewpoints of not only the south but the world. We are so quick to group people together that we forget that we're all individuals.

82 people found this helpful

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Struggle to finish

Narration was excellent.
Story was ponderous.
I love To Kill A Mockingbird
Would not recommend

2 people found this helpful

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Atticus was ruined forever

The story itself was quite good and it really made me think. However, this is not a sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird as some might have you believe. This is the rough draft of To Kill a Mockingbird. The changes between the two are dramatic and it's quite clear that Go Set a Watchman was never meant to be published.

If you're willing to accept that this is not a sequel and have the character of Atticus tainted forever, the story is quite thought provoking.

8 people found this helpful

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Rich, Ornate Prose

Harper Lee’s sequel to her classic To Kill A Mockingbird does not disappoint. Scout has transcended the innocence of her childhood and now must face head-on the moral problems that she was only able to see through her father’s eyes in the first novel… To put it bluntly: with Stephanie Myers, E.L. James and all the other dreck dominating sales, this novel comes like a soothing summer breeze on a stifling hot southern night. Read it slowly, and enjoy quality writing again.

158 people found this helpful

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Couldn't get through it

I got this book and just couldn't get through it. The story didn't really make me care. I can see why this book hadn't been published until recently.

1 person found this helpful