Listen to Reese Witherspoon Narrate the First Chapter of Harper Lee's New Novel, 'Go Set a Watchman'

The author's complete second novel will be available Tuesday

Photo: Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage; Stephen Shugerman/Getty

Reese Witherspoon‘s Southern voice is unmistakable as she narrates Harper Lee‘s highly anticipated Go Set a Watchman.

On Friday, the audio of the first chapter of Lee’s second novel was shared via The Guardian, four days before the release of the complete book. (On Thursday, The Wall Street Journal unveiled the written text of chapter one.)

The Oscar-winning actress, 39, told Katie Couric in a recent interview that it “shocked” her to read some of the words in the 89-year-old author’s book, the first literary work she’s published since 1960.

“I had to keep reminding myself it was written in the ’50s, and these were the complex issues that people of the day were dealing with,” Witherspoon said. “And old attitudes and modern thinking was just evolving about race relations in our country. So I think you will feel all that complexity in the piece.”

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The forthcoming book tells the story of Lee’s iconic character Scout as an adult woman living in New York City in the 1950s. The unedited manuscript of Go Set a Watchman was discovered in a safe deposit box last August by the author’s lawyer. HarperCollins (also the publisher of Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird) received the text from the writer’s agent.

When the novel was announced back in February, Lee said in a statement, “I am humbled and amazed that this will now be published after all these years.”

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