Harper Lee’s novel, Go Set a Watchman, has gone on sale around the world.
The book is set 20 years after the events of Harper Lee’s 1960 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel To Kill a Mockingbird.
In Harper Lee’s hometown, Monroeville in Alabama, a delivery of 7,000 copies of Go Set a Watchman arrived at the small independent Ol’ Curiosities and Book Shoppe shortly before midnight.
The book contains some of the same characters at Mockingbird, including Scout and her father Atticus Finch. It has already proved controversial as early reviewers noted that Atticus Finch expresses racist views in the story.
The story opens with Scout, now 26 and known as Jean Louise, returning on a train to her Alabama hometown from New York.
Harper Lee, who is now 89 and lives in a nursing home in Monroeville, originally wrote the book in 1957, before reworking it with her editor to become courtroom drama To Kill a Mockingbird.
The story of racism and injustice in the fictional town of Maycomb in the American South went on to sell 40 million copies and be studied in schools around the world.
To Kill a Mockingbird was also made into an Oscar-winning film starring Gregory Peck as lawyer Finch, who defends an innocent black man accused of raping a white woman.
The existence of Go Set a Watchman was revealed in February 2015 and it is being released in 70 countries simultaneously.
The opening chapter of the novel was published for the first time on July 10, and many early reviews revealed that in later years Finch had in fact become “a bigot”.
The New York Times said the revelation could “reshape Ms Lee’s legacy” and made for “disturbing reading”.