Harper Lee’s ‘Go Set A Watchman’ Sells More Than 1 Million After One Week

Go Set A Watchman, Harper Lee’s heavily-storied and belated follow up to her classic, To Kill A Mockingbird, has sold an estimated 1.1 million copies in its first week of sale.

In a press release from their website, Go Set A Watchman publisher HarperCollins says the book is the fastest-selling in company history.

“First week sales of Go Set a Watchman have far exceeded our expectations,” said Brian Murray, President and CEO of HarperCollins Publishers.

“Bringing this book to market has been an amazing effort by thousands of people – from our publishing teams to booksellers large and small. We are thrilled to see readers responding to this historic new work from an iconic author like Harper Lee.”

Reactions to the release have been mixed-to-positive. The book currently has an average rating of four stars on Amazon, but critics have noted the drastic shift in character of one of To Kill A Mockingbird‘s main characters, Atticus Finch. Go Set A Watchman, set a number of years after the events of To Kill A Mockingbird, follows two of the key characters of the original classic. Written around the same time as To Kill A Mockingbird, Go Set A Watchman follows the iconic protagonists of Mockingbird, Scout Finch — now some 20 years older and using her given name, Jean Louise — and Atticus Finch.

The story surrounding the release of Go Set A Watchman is a long and interesting one. According to the Washington Post, the book was initially rejected by publishers. It was then stashed away, and remained that way for over 60 years, leaving the only other release by author Harper Lee being her classic, To Kill A Mockingbird. It was only recently that, with the help of Harper Lee’s lawyer, Tonya Carter, the completed manuscript was dug up and presented once again for publication.

Controversy started to form over Harper Lee’s mental state and ability to make decisions regarding the release of Go Set A Watchman. After suffering a stroke in 2007, many believed that Harper Lee was in no condition to make publishing decisions, especially considering her notoriously reclusive nature up to that point. An out-of-nowhere release of a lost manuscript — the sequel to one of the most well-known books ever — after 60 years, naturally raised a lot of questions. The state of Alabama briefly followed up allegations of abuse, but for them, the matter has largely been dismissed.

Go Set A Watchman looks to be a big success for publisher HarperCollins, and the book will most likely be topping best-seller lists for the immediate future.

[Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images]

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