Festival of Books
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David Foster Wallace
Mixed feelings on Harper Lee's 'Go Set a Watchman'
Mixed feelings on Harper Lee's 'Go Set a Watchman'

I first encountered Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird" in ninth grade. Like so many others, I was struck not just by the book's vivid narrative of racial justice, but also by its nuance: the inner life of its narrator and its deft portrayal of small-town eccentricities, which its author would come to embody herself, to some extent. After completing the novel — an international bestseller, it won the 1961 Pulitzer Prize for fiction — Lee helped her childhood friend Truman Capote (model for the character of Dill) research his 1966 nonfiction book "In Cold Blood." Then she pretty much retreated from literary life. This, as much as the power of her...