‘Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit ’em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.’
A lawyer’s advice to his children as he defends the real mockingbird of Harper Lee’s classic novel – a black man falsely charged with the rape of a white girl. Through the young eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, Harper Lee explores with exuberant humour the irrationality of adult attitudes to race and class in the Deep South of the 1930s. The conscience of a town steeped in prejudice, violence and hypocrisy is pricked by the stamina of one man’s struggle for justice. But the weight of history will only tolerate so much.
To Kill a Mockingbird is a coming-of-age story, an anti-racist novel, a historical drama of the Great Depression and a sublime example of the Southern writing tradition.
The author of one of the defining novels of the 20th century, Harper Lee is also one of literature’s great enigmas. Her masterpiece, To Kill a Mockingbird, was published in 1960 and its nuanced yet robust denunciation of small town racism has entered American cultural life as few other novels have done.
Lee explores with exuberant humourthe irrationality of adult attitudes to race and class in the Deep South of the 1930s. * The Week *
Someone rare has written this very fine novel, a writer with the liveliest sense of life and the warmest, most authentic humour. A touching book; and so funny, so likeable. * Truman Capote *
There is humour as well as tragedy in this book, besides its faint note of hope for human nature; and it is delightfully written * Sunday Times *
No one ever forgets this book * Independent *
One of the best novels I remember … uniquely unsentimental * Guardian *