WHITESTONE BOOK CLUB
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Harper Lee’s second novel, “Go Set a Watchman”, written before but published half a century after “To Kill a Mockingbird”, proved to be initially less engaging than we might have hoped but also led to spirited discussion.
Scout has travelled from New York back to Maycombe, Alabama and the author enjoys the opportunity for lively characterisation. Place and time are well described but both have changed for the grown up Scout, now known as Jean Louise. Her old home is an ice cream parlour, their old housekeeper has retreated into her own community and her closest childhood companions are absent. However, she does not expect her beloved father, Atticus, to be different. All her life she has lived by the clear-cut principles he taught her so she cannot bear to think that he is not the man she thought he was. Her return to her old home, forces her to confront the community as it is and the people as they have to be, not as she would like them to be.
In the last fifty years much in the world has changed and it would be satisfying to view this portrayal of the racial tensions of 1950s Alabama as a history lesson. Unfortunately, there is a sense that some things don’t change very much.
Our next book is a modern re-working of “Pride and Prejudice” by American author Curtis Sittenfeld.Carole Jones
Next meeting: 3th April 2020