Book stores in Mumbai witnessed a steady stream of visitors on Tuesday to pick up the much-anticipated new novel by Harper Lee, Go Set a Watchman, which has been released in 70 countries simultaneously, and is a sequel to the 89-year-old Pulitzer Prize-winning author’s classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird – which has sold more than 40 million copies worldwide since its release in 1960.
T Jagat, CEO, Kitab Khana, Fort, said, “The book had 60 pre-bookings, and sold 15 copies till evening. The response is quite good. Customers showed up as soon as we opened, and we kept receiving queries over the phone throughout the day.”
The response, however, didn’t match that of Amitav Ghosh’s recent release, Flood of Fire, which tops the sales at Kitab Khana.
Girdhar Prabhu from Strand Book Stall, Fort, said, “We had stocked around 15 copies that arrived at 1pm, but within a few hours, eight of them were sold. We didn’t think the book would generate so much interest, but we were wrong. It is also likely the sale of the first book [Mockingbird] will increase, as readers may want to get acquainted with the story.”
The readers, who still remember the characters who inhabit a small town in the conservative American south, including a little girl Scout and her father and lawyer Atticus Finch, said they couldn’t wait to know Scout as a grown-up woman. “It will be fascinating to know if Scout follows in the footsteps of her father and becomes a lawyer herself,” said Deepa Subramaniam, who placed an order at Strand a week ago.
Indrajit Laurence Punjabi, who bought a copy from Kitab Khana, said he had been excited about the book since he learned about it in February. “I have been following up on the news, how some critics are calling it a prequel and not a sequel, and how Finch is said to have racist views. It’s all very exciting, and I can’t wait to read it,” he said.
Book lover Shivani Gorle said, “I want to find out how Atticus Finch has been portrayed in a different light. There are other discussions too, including how the book was actually written before Mockingbird, that make it interesting,” she said.
Other book stores such as Crossword, said copies were being sold the entire day, but couldn’t provide exact figures till evening.