Beka's Reviews > The Night Watch

The Night Watch by Sarah Waters
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's review
Jun 11, 2012

did not like it

I picked up The Night Watch because I'd read and loved (in that deeply disturbed way) Fingersmith. In the future, I'll stick to Waters' books set in the Victorian era. The book is organized in reverse chronological order, so the idea is that as you read more, you understand why the characters were doing and thinking what they were at the beginning of the book. This is an interesting idea, particularly for a book that begins in 1947 Britain and moves backwards through WWII, but it only works if the characters are doing unusual/bizarre/inexplicable things at the beginning. The experiment flops if all the characters are feeling general malaise in 1947 because - guess what? - post-WWII Britain was a fairly depressing place. You know why? There was this war. It turns out that you don't need 300 pages to explain that war gets people down (even lesbians!). I got to the end of the book feeling like I was still waiting for the plot to start.

Don't let this negative review warn you away from Waters' other books, however, especially Fingersmith. The Night Watch took me by surprise precisely because it was so different from her other, generally fascinating, work.
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