In addition to transforming the beloved Atticus Finch into a racist, Quartz reports that Harper Lee’s new novel Go Set a Watchman includes at least eight passages that were published nearly verbatim in To Kill a Mockingbird.
That the novels include duplicate passages shouldn’t come as a complete surprise, though it does reenforce arguments that perhaps Lee never meant for the books to be published separately. While Watchman has been billed as a follow-up or sequel to Mockingbird, in reality, the New York Times reports, it was conceived as earlier (rejected) version of the same book. When Lee turned in a draft of Watchman in 1957, her editor Tay Hohoff called it “more a series of anecdotes than a fully conceived novel.” Hohoff worked with the young writer for three years to transform the manuscript into Mockingbird, which went on to win the Pulitzer Prize and sell tens of millions of copies. It’s unclear whether Hohoff, who died in 1974, would have approved of Watchman’s subsequent publication as a standalone novel, and many have questioned whether the 89-year-old Lee, who suffered a stroke in 2007 and is in poor health, ever intended the book to be publicly released.