Reese Witherspoon Narrates First Chapter Of Harper Lee’s New Novel

Oscar winning actress, Reese Witherspoon, has just debuted the first chapter of Harper Lee’s highly anticipated new novel ‘Go Set A Watchman’ – via audio book today.

Although ‘Go Set A Watchman’ hits shelves next Tuesday, The Guardian has just released an audio version of the first chapter (you can listen to the full version also on 14 July), narrated by Witherspoon. “As a Southerner, it is an honor and a privilege to give voice to the Southern characters who inspired my childhood love of reading, Scout and Atticus Finch,” she revealed back in April this year. “[I am] eager for readers to be transported to a pivotal time in American history in the manner that only Lee’s gorgeous prose can deliver.”

It’s been 55 years since literary sensation Harper Lee, 89, penned her first (and only) novel, literary classic, ‘To Kill A Mockingbird,’ which sold over 40 million copies worldwide. ‘Go Set A Watchman’ is a follow up to her Pulitzer Prize-winning debut, which is set in the 1950’s (two decades after Mockingbird left off).

The first chapter reveals protaganist Jean Louise Finch – (nicknamed Scout in To Kill A Mockingbird) – as a liberal, sexually liberated 26 year-old woman, travelling from New York to Alabama by train and weighing up a marriage proposal from her brother’s friend.

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> Go Set A Watchman By Harper Lee

Jean is described as having “turned from an overalled, fractious, gun-slinging creature into a reasonable facsimile of a human being”.

Lee is said to be ‘happy as hell about her new novel’ which is a follow up to her Pulitzer Prize-winning debut.

It seems fans would agree as the BBC reports today that ‘Go Set A Watchman has become the most pre-ordered title on Amazon since the final Harry Potter book,’ according the online retailer.

By Emma Firth