Julia's Reviews > All Clear

All Clear by Connie Willis
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Oct 27, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: time-travel, historical-fiction, science-fiction, best-books-i-read-in-2010
Read from October 27 to November 04, 2010

As soon as I was done reading this I wanted to start all over again with Blackout, the first book in this two book series. But it also made me want to reread all of Connie Willis’ time travel novels… When I had just begun this I watched again a “Doctor Who” that must have been aired for the first time right around when Blackout, came out. (“Doctor Who” episodes about the Blitz are some of the best.)
Amy Pond (the newest Doctor's Companion) asks Winston Churchill: “What does he (the Doctor) expect us to do now?”
Winston Churchill: “KBO, I expect.”
Amy Pond: "What?”
Winston Churchill: “Keep Buggering On.”

I have nothing particularly deep or meaningful to say about this book, except that along with Blackout I fully expect it will be on my list of best books for the year. It was an amazing, terrible, exciting time and I am glad and honored to have shared it with these heroic characters. So let me try to explain my gratitude for this book with some short non-spoliery quotes from the book.

“England was the front, and the real heroes were the Londoners sitting in the tube stations night after night, waiting to be blown to smithereens. And everyone on this train, waiting patiently for it to begin moving again, not giving way to panic or the impulse to call Hitler and surrender just to get it over with." (p. 205)

“During those first nights of the Blitz, it seemed to me that not only theaters but theater itself and the Bard had become casualties of war. That Shakespeare’s quaint notions of honor and courage and virtue were all dead, murdered by Hitler and his Luftwaffe. And I felt as though I had been murdered along with them.
“And then you came,” he said, “looking like all of Shakespeare’s lovely heroines and loving daughters combined into one – Miranda and Rosalind and Cordelia and Viola combined into one – and restored my faith.” (p. 558) “

"No one person or thing won the war. People argue over whether it was Ultra or the evacuation from Dunkirk or Churchill’s leadership or fooling Hitler into thinking we were invading at Calais that won the war, but it wasn’t any one of them. It was all of them and a thousand, a million, other things and people. And not just soldiers and pilots and Wrens, but air-raid wardens and planespotters and debutantes and mathematicians and weekend sailors and vicars.” (p. 569)
Blackout (All Clear, #1) by Connie Willis
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Quotes Julia Liked

Connie Willis
“TO ALL THE
ambulance drivers
firewatchers
air-raid wardens
nurses
canteen workers
airplane spotters
rescue workers
mathematicians
vicars
vergers
shopgirls
chorus girls
librarians
debutantes
spinsters
fishermen
retired sailors
servants
evacuees
Shakespearean actors
and mystery novelists
WHO WON THE WAR.”
Connie Willis, All Clear

Connie Willis
“He looked resigned, as though he knew that wretched door--to where? Home? Heaven? Peace?--would never open, and at the same time he seemed resolved, ready to do his bit even though he couldn't possibly know what sacrifices that would require. Had he been kept here, too--in a place he didn't belong, serving in a war in which he hadn't enlisted, to rescue sparrows and soldiers and shopgirls and Shakespeare? To tip the balance?”
Connie Willis, All Clear


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