No, You Don’t Have to Hate the New (Racist) Atticus Finch, Experts Say

14 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

6 worst lines from Harper Lee’s Go Set A Watchman.

Though ‘s “Go Set A Watchman” won’t be released until midnight Tuesday, anxious readers are watching the clock as they wait for pre-ordered copies or add their names to waiting lists at local libraries.LONDON—Hours before U.S. readers were able to snatch up copies of Harper Lee’s “Go Set a Watchman,” hundreds of fans braved long “queues” in the British capital to buy copies of the book just minutes after Big Ben struck midnight. In social media circles, people already are asking if it’s possible that Atticus Finch, the Southern lawyer-crusader who brilliantly defended a wrongly-accused black man in “To Kill A Mockingbird,” published in 1960, is a racist. Released across the globe Tuesday, the launch was received with particularly large fanfare in the U.K., where chain bookstores as well as smaller, independent vendors from London to Glasgow, Edinburgh to Leeds held late-night parties to celebrate—and sell—the second novel by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “To Kill a Mockingbird.” “To say that I am excited about this would be an understatement,” said 25-year-old Shiraz Engineer of London, who bought a copy of “Watchman” at a midnight launch held at the Piccadilly Circus Waterstones bookshop, the flagship store of the country’s largest chain bookseller.

She is a lifelong Harper Lee fan, and named her daughter, age 6, after the author. “A lot of people are upset about this change they didn’t see coming in his character. Ahead of the book’s release, EW has found the worst lines from Watchman. 2. “She sternly repressed a tendency to boisterousness when she reflected that Sidney Lanier must have been like her long-departed cousin, Joshua Singleton Sinclair…” 4. “Atticus raised his eyebrows in warning. He watched his daughter’s daemon rise and dominate her….When she looked thuds, only God and Robert Browning knew what she was likely to say.” 5. “She was completely unaware that with one twist of the tongue she could plunge Jean Louise into a moral turmoil…by tweaking the protestant, philistine strings of Jean Louise’s conscience until they vibrated like a spectral zither.” 6. “With the same suddenness that a barbarous boy yanks the larva of an ant lion from its hole to leave it struggling in the sun, Jean Louise was snatched from her quiet realm and left alone to protect her sensitive epidermis as best she could, on a humid Sunday afternoon at precisely 2:28 p.m.” I think there will be more conversations about the character of Atticus and the complexity of who he is, and maybe we can transfer some of that discussion into what’s going on with race in our world today.” The Denver Public Library will have 252 copies of “Watchman,” including large-type, regular type, e-books, audio books and 11 Spanish translations.

In this Aug. 20, 2007, file photo, author Harper Lee smiles during a ceremony honoring the four new members of the Alabama Academy of Honor at the Capitol in Montgomery, Ala. (Rob Carr, Associated Press file) The Douglas County libraries have long waiting lists, too — 405 people signed up for one of 160 hardbacks, 79 readers are on the list for large-type, and 59 listeners are anxious to hear the audio book. Charlotte Bush, a Penguin spokeswoman, declined to say how many copies it printed of the British edition, which will be sold across Europe, South Africa, India, Australia and New Zealand. (“Watchman” will be published in the U.S. by HarperCollins, which like The Wall Street Journal, is owned by News Corp.) “British people connect to [“Mockingbird”] because it has such different meanings for different people,” said Sandi Phillips of North London, who had also lined up at the Waterstones midnight launch. Nobody really thought about how it would be different when told from the viewpoint of a 30-something-year-old returning to her hometown, she said. “But that change is something that many of us (who are) that age, or older, experience when we go home, and we see our parents with adult eyes.” For another, “Watchman”—at least from what he had read in the first chapter available to readers online since Friday—seems to deal with a number of universal themes the U.K. is grappling with now, namely, reconciling both regional and racial divisions. Engineer, who had brought the old copy of “Mockingbird” with her to the store, said she liked the look of “Watchman” and, if she were to judge it by its cover, would give it a favorable review.

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