Fans of “To Kill a Mockingbird” will have read about three-quarters of the first chapter of Harper Lee’s hotly anticipated second novel before their stomachs drop. We’re not going to reveal the stunning plot development right here, because everybody hates spoilers, right? But there will be some pretty big hints about what it involves, so read on at your own risk.
Reactions swiftly followed on social media, with many readers flabbergasted by the big reveal concerning Jem Finch, a central character in “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
“Wow, Harper Lee just broke my heart this morning with one sentence,” tweeted book seller Joe Whittington.
The start of “Go Set a Watchman” picks up the story of Jean Louise “Scout” Finch, the young girl who narrates her adventures in the rural South in “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
But now she’s a grown woman in the 1950s, riding a train from New York back to her childhood home of Maycomb, Alabama, the setting for “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
This time, Lee tells the story in the third person, not in Scout’s voice.
The first chapter is still rich with the author’s wry observations about human nature, with turns of phrase like, “If you did not want much, there was plenty.”