In February, readers everywhere were thrilled to learn that national treasure Harper Lee is set to publish a new novel, Go Set a Watchman. Lee says Go Set a Watchman is the “parent” of her beloved classic To Kill a Mockingbird.
“In the mid-1950s, I completed a novel called Go Set a Watchman. It features the character known as Scout as an adult woman and I thought it a pretty decent effort. My editor, who was taken by the flashbacks to Scout’s childhood, persuaded me to write a novel from the point of view of the young Scout. I was a first-time writer, so I did as I was told.”
This morning, HarperCollins revealed the moody, evocative cover art for Lee’s forthcoming novel, which hits shelves on July 14.
Harper Lee’s name is set in ivory, and the book title in yellow. In the foreground, we see a black tree sparsely peppered with yellow leaves. The dark teal color of the ground and sky suggests dusk, or dawn. In the background, a train approaches, its headlight on. It’s a depiction of a literal event in the book—Scout’s return to Maycomb to visit her family—but it’s also a symbol. Michael Morrison, president and publisher of HarperCollins, says, “Go Set a Watchman begins with Scout’s train ride home, but more profoundly, it is about the journey Harper Lee’s beloved characters have taken in the subsequent 20 years of their lives.”
The jacket was designed by Jarrod Taylor. The font and artwork recall the storied original cover of To Kill a Mockingbird and summon up the 1950s, the era in which Go Set a Watchman takes place. Both book jackets feature trees. The green leaves on the Mockingbird cover evoke spring or summer; the yellow leaves of Watchman suggest autumn. What does this newly revealed cover art tell us about the plot of Lee’s forthcoming novel? We’ll have to wait until July 14 to answer that question.