The first chapter of Harper Lee's highly anticipated Go Set a Watchman was published early this morning by the Wall Street Journal.

(This article has been updated with new developments.)

The story opens with Jean Louise, the grown-up Scout, returning to Maycomb by train from New York to visit her father Atticus, who is debilitated by rheumatoid arthritis. The chapter is heavy on exposition, touching on, among other things, a cousin who ended up in a state institution for firing a gun; description of the Chattahoochee river and the countryside; the history of Colonel Mason Maycomb, for whom the town and county of Maycomb was named; and a joke train porters play on young ladies by stopping the train past the station.

There's also a surprising development regarding Scout's brother.

The book, which releases on Tuesday, has been the subject of controversy after questions about whether Lee was mentally fit to agree to its publication.

Early critical reactions to the first chapter of the novel are uneven. Lynda Hawryluk at CNN championed the work, saying it features "long sentences beautifully rendered and evoking a world long lost to history, but welcoming all the same." But in a review for The Telegraph, bearing the headline 'Would it have been kinder not to publish Harper Lee's Go Set a Watchman?', Mick Brown writes: "there is a reason [this book] was not published in the first place." He continues: "What immediately strikes you reading this first chapter is its utterly conventional voice, its lack of spark and intimacy."

Reactions on social media were also varied, ranging from praise to criticism to lightheartedness; a selection of Twitter responses are below.

Correction: Due to an editing error, a previous version of this article misstated the state in which the fictional location of Maycomb is located in.