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Night Over Day Over Night

4.03  ·  Rating Details ·  162 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
As Sebastian Westland journeys from childhood to the bloody proving ground of men, he loses everything by which he knows himself: his past, his innocence, finally his name. His struggle to survive a war he scarcely comprehends is rendered in the urgent, beautifully spare, memorable prose of a born storyteller.
Paperback, 304 pages
Published June 15th 1997 by Picador (first published March 12th 1988)
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Community Reviews

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Wow. Quite blown away by the end of this one. Yes, it's a war story, told from the point of view of a 17 year old German who ends up in the Waffen SS in 1944. Remember that for later.

The first thing that got me was the opening. Coincidentally, I started this immediately after finishing Nick Arvin's Articles of War (I'm on a war novel kick at the moment...don't ask). One of my peeves with Articles was the overly sentimental love story between the 17 year old protagonist and a pretty French girl.
Feb 07, 2008 Daniel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
I have greatly enjoyed the works of Paul Watkins that I've come upon, and looked forward to reaching back and checking out this, his first novel -- the novel which brought him some acclaim.

Fortunately this was not my first venture into the works of Paul Watkins or I likely never would have read more.

In the previous books of Paul Watkins that I've come across, his protagonists are all of the same ilk, rather dry, melancholic sorts, but they've all had goals ... something to strive for or somethi
Jul 21, 2015 Larry rated it liked it
World War 2 as seen from the perspective of a young German SS enlistee, Sebastian Westland. He comes of age just in time to participate in the final assault known as The Battle of the Bulge. His experiences are told in a matter-of-fact style. Through the brutal weeks of training camp and the horrific events of battle, Watkins gives very little emotional depth to our main character, Sebastian. Plenty of excellent gritty detail throughout, but not much feeling.
Friends are killed, no comment.
Mar 28, 2012 'Lana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Loved this book from the moment I unearthed it. It was dark (as the genre suggests) but had an unmistakle humane side to dealing with WWII from a perspective we don't normally see. Had me laughing and crying in quick succession. A wonderful story and a joy to read.
Sep 09, 2010 Peter rated it it was amazing
Probably the best WWII fiction book I have ever read. Told from the perspective of a young German who has no choice but too enlist late in the war when it is already almost over. It manages to humanize a Nazi SS man. Read it and you will see what I mean. A non stop Action Cabaret.
Jul 25, 2013 Michael rated it it was amazing
Humane yet unflinching in its handling of the moral ambiguity of war, this fictional account of a young SS soldier's experiences at the close of WWII is mesmerising. One of the few works of fiction to make an indelible mark on me.
Shannon Cole
Dec 23, 2015 Shannon Cole rated it it was amazing
Superbly written- great story of a surreal experience that many went through
Sean Chick
Aug 12, 2011 Sean Chick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Among the most unusual war novels I've read, full of nuance and in the end a sense of horror. Seemed like a darker version of "Platoon."
Gregory Lamb
Feb 16, 2011 Gregory Lamb rated it really liked it
I have read almost all of Paul's novels. This one stands out among them all as the most creative. The mood and dialog are superb and the historical aspect of the story is intriguing.
Feb 26, 2015 David rated it really liked it
A really wonderful view of the end of the war from a young German soldier's perspective. I've give it 4.5 if I could.
Steve rated it it was amazing
Mar 16, 2008
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Paul Watkins is an American author who currently lives with his wife and two children in Hightstown, New Jersey. He is a teacher and writer-in-residence at The Peddie School, and formerly taught at Lawrenceville School. He attended the Dragon School, Oxford, Eton and Yale University. He received a B.A. from Yale and was a University Fellow at Syracuse University, New York. His recollections of his ...more
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