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Download Go Set a Watchman: A Novel Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Go Set a Watchman: A Novel Audiobook, by Harper Lee Click for printable size audiobook cover
4.07 out of 54.07 out of 54.07 out of 54.07 out of 54.07 out of 5 4.07 (7 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Harper Lee Narrator: Reese Witherspoon Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: July 2015 ISBN: 9780062409898
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A historic literary event: the publication of a newly discovered novel, the earliest known work from Harper Lee, the beloved, bestselling author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning classic, To Kill a Mockingbird.

Originally written in the mid-1950s, Go Set a Watchman was the novel Harper Lee first submitted to her publishers before To Kill a Mockingbird. Assumed to have been lost, the manuscript was discovered in late 2014.

Go Set a Watchman features many of the characters from To Kill a Mockingbird some twenty years later. 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.

Exploring how the characters from To Kill a Mockingbird are adjusting to the turbulent events transforming mid-1950s America, Go Set a Watchman casts a fascinating new light on Harper Lee’s enduring classic. Moving, funny, and compelling, it stands as a magnificent novel in its own right.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Oscar-winning actress and Southern girl Reese Witherspoon portrays the narrator of the masterpiece To Kill a Mockingbird…The story features many of the same characters in Mockingbird, but they’re radically different in outlook. All 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. Lee’s new novel draws on the same theme as Mockingbird—empathy—but as Witherspoon wistfully portrays Atticus, Scout, and others, listeners will need to find new ways of understanding them. Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award.”


  • “The novel the world has been waiting for is clearly the work of a novice…The presentation of the South pushing back against the dictates of the Federal government, utilizing characters from a book that was about justice prevailing in the South through the efforts of an unambiguous hero, is a worthy endeavor…[But] the theme of the book is basically about not being able to go home again.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “The work in hand is not a sequel but served as source material for Lee’s eventual Pulitzer Prize winner…More significantly, the current work stands as you-are-there documentation of a specific time and place, contextualizing both Mockingbird and the very beginnings of the civil rights movement, and for that reason alone it’s invaluable and recommended reading…If Watchman is occasionally digressive or a bit much of a lecture, it’s good enough to make one wish that Lee had written a dozen works. It’s also a breathtaking read that will have the reader actively engaged and arguing with every character, including Jean Louise…Verdict: Disturbing, important, and not to be compared with Mockingbird; this book is its own signal work.”

    Library Journal

  • “By revealing the insidious prejudice of a man as seemingly upright as Atticus, Lee uncloaks the malignant hatred, anger, and fear that have made the South a land of terror for African Americans…Lee addresses another volatile topic, sexism, primarily in flashbacks to Jean Louise’s reluctant and utterly unprepared passage into young womanhood…[with] the most richly imagined and crisply realized sections in the novel…Though Lee’s prose is frequently stilted in Go Set a Watchman, her transitions awkward, her descents into exposition bumpy, this is a daring, raw, intimate, and incendiary social exposé. A story, perhaps, far too alienating, too candid, and too hot to handle fresh from the typewriter, during that more buttoned-up era. Given the systematic racist invective unleashed during the two terms of our first African American president, and the increasingly visible police violence against African Americans, now truly is the time for Harper Lee’s unsettling confrontation with racism, our national malady.”


  • “Lee, who is plainly on the side of equality, writes of class, religion, and race but most affectingly of the clash of generations and traditions, with an Atticus tolerant and approving of Scout’s reformist ways: ‘I certainly hoped a daughter of mine’d hold her ground for what she thinks is right—stand up to me first of all.’ It’s not To Kill a Mockingbird, yes, but it’s very much worth reading.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • Watchman is a messier and more complicated story than To Kill a Mockingbird, both in its themes and its execution. Which is to be expected for a basically unedited manuscript…[and] for a story that took on heavy racial topics as they were unfolding. Readers who pick up Watchman with this in mind will find it a fascinating and thought-provoking look into the development of a modern classic—and the characters it featured…Though it is marred by some underdeveloped plot lines and occasionally uneven pacing, the characters and subject matter are rich…Despite the novel’s shortcomings (and potential disappointments for Atticus acolytes) there is plenty to enjoy…And Lee’s talent for capturing the small-town South is on full display.”


  • A New York Times Pick of Best Summer Reads
  • A BookPage Top Pick for July in Fiction
  • Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award
  • A Publishers Weekly bestseller
  • A Wall Street Journal bestseller
  • A #1 New York Times bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Melissa | 4/19/2016

    " I loved this story. I see why this book would make the reader want to know more about Scout. Reese was the perfect choice for a reader on this book. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Kristi B. | 1/27/2016

    " Wanted to hear a Harper Lee Audio book. Great, Reese Witherspoon, should be good. Wrong. Have no Idea how the book might be. I tried to hang in there. After a while, all I could hear in my mind's eye was Reese in front of a group of people, reading out loud. Terrible narration, just terrible. "

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About the Author

Harper Lee (1926–2016) was born in Monroeville, Alabama. She attended Huntington College and studied law at the University of Alabama. She was the author of To Kill a Mockingbird and was awarded numerous literary awards, including the Pulitzer Prize and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

About the Narrator

Reese Witherspoon began pursuing her acting career after graduating from Stanford University. Her early critical success included roles in film such as Best Laid Plans, Cruel Intentions, and American Psycho, but it was her portrayal of Elle Woods in the box office hit Legally Blonde that marked a turning point in her career. Witherspoon went on to win an Academy Award in 2005 for her role in Walk the Line. Her recent films include Water for Elephants, This Means War, Mud, and Devil’s Knot.