Fellow Southerner and Oscar-winning actress Reese Witherspoon will lend her voice to Harper Lee's Go Set a Watchman audio book, making basically every lit nerd around the world super jealous that she'll get early dibs on reading the novel. Witherspoon will head into the recording studio this month, and the audio book will be released concurrently with the Go Set a Watchman novel on July 14.
Witherspoon has proven her love of literature, most recently with her adaptation of Cheryl Strayed's Wild, for which she earned an Academy Award nomination for best actress, her work as a producer on Gone Girl's movie adaptation, and the recent news that she and fellow actress Nicole Kidman have optioned Liane Moriarty's Big Little Lies for television. So clearly having the opportunity to read the surprise To Kill a Mockingbird sequel, one of the greatest American novels ever? Yeah, she's excited. In a statement, Reese said:
As a Southerner, it is an honor and privilege to give voice to the Southern characters who inspired my childhood love of reading, Scout and Atticus Finch. I am eager for readers to be transported to a pivotal time in American history in the manner that only Harper Lee's gorgeous prose can deliver.
Lee's Go Set a Watchman has been enveloped in controversy since the news broke that the "lost' manuscript for her To Kill a Mockingbird sequel would be published. An investigation into the author's mental capacity and state of mind, even with the allegations of elder abuse, found no reason to halt publishing, however, and Lee herself has been her usual witty, tough self about the whole thing, even telling a reporter to "go away."
Not that Go Set a Watchman needed any added press. The novel is sure to break sales records this summer and might cause me to have heat stroke from rushing to the store too quickly. Audio publisher at Penguin Random House Videl Bar-Kar agrees, of course, and spoke up in favor of Witherspoon lending her voice to the anticipated (which is an understatement) novel:
Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman is destined to be both the publishing event of the year and a classic for generations to come. We are thrilled that Reese Witherspoon will bring her formidable talent to the audiobook.
Frankly, I am, too. Now let's just see how we can possibly make it to July without keeling over with excitement.