The sixties were a decade of social revolution where the spirit of “free love”, rock and roll and the mini skirt prevailed.  Some writers wrote coming of age tales that give alternative views of freedom and the battles for social justice. Your Reading Passport journey continues into the 1960’s with a look at Harper Lee’s classic – “To Kill a Mocking Bird”.

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To Kill a Mockingbird is a one off. For decades it was Harper Lee’s only book, (Go Set a Watchman was only published after her death), and the novel hovers between a children’s book and an adult one. It creates a shifting and mysterious world of childhood fancy and adult folly, which its narrator,  nine year old “Scout” Finch will never see in the same way again.

The novel contains one of the most famous court scenes in fiction when Scout’s father, Atticus defends a black man accused of raping a white woman in an Alabama small town in the early 1930’s. The scene outside the courthouse where Atticus is confronted by a lynch mob has concentrated power.  But the novel isn’t just a courtroom drama. Its also a tender and comic evocation of childhood, where the scenes of the half-scared and half-swaggering pranks on the reclusive Boo Radley have atmosphere and charm. The narrative has both dramatic force and plenty of variety.

If you like “To Kill a Mockingbird” you could try the first novel by Harper Lee’s childhood friend Truman Capote called “Other Voices, Other Rooms”, a haunting story of a boy sent to live with his unknown father in the Deep South

 

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