The Night Watch
Moving back through the 1940s, through air raids, blacked-out streets, illicit partying, and sexual adventure, to end with its beginning in 1941, The Night Watch tells the story of four Londoners-three women and a young man with a past-whose lives, and those of their friends and lovers, connect in tragedy, stunning surprise and exquisite turns, only to change irreversibly...more
This may be a sign of two things:
1. My ailing memory due to incipient old age
2. The fact that this books characters were not potentially striking or memorable enough to lodge them firmly within grey matter like a sort of post-reading word shrapnel.
Because no one likes to admi...more
I loved this book. It follows the lives of four people backwards through World War II. It begins post-war, in 1947, and you meet these chara...more
Luckily, this book improved after the first 250 dreadful pages. But isn't that a long time to wait for improvement? See my earlier comment for the defects of the book's Part One (takes place in 1947). Part two, set three years earlier, is certainly less boring, but only because the war was still on, not bec...more
That said, this novel (as other reviewers have noted) is quite different from her others. The plot is certainly not as fast-paced or full of "twists" as the earlier novels; the setting has moved from Victorian to WWII (which makes a big difference to me a...more
I feel a bit fooled when you do not get to know what happened after part one, what the women made of their lives, what happened to Helen and Julia? What did Kay do when she go...more
I was less thrilled with the fact the book starts in 1947 London and works its way backwards to 1941. It's well done, but gimmicky, a perfectly ordinary novel made slightly mysterious with...whatever the opposite of foreshadowing is. Odd...more
In 1999, Sarah Waters' first novel TIPPING THE VELVET caused a minor sensation. A rich, sprawling tale of Sapphic love in the world of Victorian music halls and secret "women's clubs", TIPPING THE VELVET managed to be outrageously sexy while retaining impeccable literary credentials. Ms. Waters went on to publish two additional books that vividly evoke the Victorian period, the FINGERSMITH (my personal favorite) and AFFINITY. Both focus on lesbian relationships, though they are generally less gr...more
Sarah Waters' novel follows the interlinked lives of five people in these dismal years. Helen and Viv work in a dating agency. Helen lives with the sophisticated Julia, whilst Viv...more
This is elegant, and the unusual structure, which bothered me a little at first, actually works in a peculiar way to give a crescendo of sorts...to the horror of war, to that which has been overcome.
For males thinking "lesbians are hot", this will be a disappointment. It is a much more realistic treatment of the relationships among women t...more
People in London after WWII doing things they think inappropriate. Watching other people. Sometimes listening.
If you are a fan of short stories--particularly short stories strung into a very long novel--then this book may be for you.
As for me, I disliked "The Night Watch" greatly, even though the prose is beautiful.
I'm finally free.
Overall, I enjoyed this book. Helen, Viv, Duncan, and Kay survive through the horrors of London torn apart by World War II as their lives connect and diverge. (You’d think there was more to the plot but no, not really).
This novel was built with an interesting structure where the first part occurred in 1947 (this part was slow and a bit tedious to read), the second in 1944, and the third in 1941 (wish we’d spent more time here, it was only about 40 pages long). The structure worked fo...more
The Night Watch's structure is a reverse chronology that recedes from the sad and exhausted ‘present’ of 1947, back through the bombardments of 1944, to the expectant apocalyptic atmosphere of 1941. This may seem like a gimm...more
The story is set in London, beginning in 1947, and then moving backwards in time to 1941. This was a time when homosexuality and lesbianism were taboo and attempted suicide was a criminal offence. It explores the lives and intertwined relationships of Kay, Helen, and Julia and also looks at sister and brother, Vivien and Duncan Pearce. I was impressed, as always, by th...more
Were Charles Dickens to read The Night Watch, he might blush at the hot girl-on-girl action, but I think he'd be downright envious of the deftness with which Waters sweeps these characters across more than a decade of war and its after...more
Waters attended university, earning degrees in English literature. Before writing novels Waters worked as an academic, earning a doctorate and teaching. Waters went directly from her doctoral thesis to her first novel....more