“[A] wonderful novel…Waters is almost Dickensian in her wealth of description and depth of character.”—Chicago Tribune
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 in the shadow of a grand historical event.
Waters (Fingersmith) applies her talent for literary suspense to WWII-era London in her latest historical. She populates the novel with ordinary people overlooked by history books and sets their individual passions against the chaotic background of extraordinary times. There are Kay, a "night watch" ambulance driver; her lover, Helen; two imprisoned conscientious objectors, upper-class Fraser and working-class Duncan; Duncan's sister, Viv; Viv's married soldier-lover, Reggie; and Julia, a building inspector cum mystery novelist. The novel works backward in time, beginning in 1947, as London emerges from the rubble of war, then to 1944, a time of nightly air raids, and finally to 1941, when the war's end was not in sight. Through all the turmoil on the world stage, the characters steal moments of love, fragments of calm and put their lives on the line for great sex and small kindnesses. Waters's sharply drawn page-turner doesn't quite equal the work of literary greats who've already mapped out WWII-era London. But she matches any of them with her scene of two women on the verge of an affair during a nighttime bombing raid, lost in blackout London with only the light of their passion as a guide.
Customer ReviewsSee All
The Night Watch is a beautifully written novel, a bit mysterious and a bit sad, and full of emotional, true-to-life plot twists which kept me wondering and guessing.
The stories of the two women around whom the story swirls is told backwards - the end was actually the beginning! This book begins with Helen's troubled love life in 1947 and ends in 1941 when she met her lover. The parallel tale, of Vivian and her own romantic problems, is told in the same way; both women's seemingly inexplicable behavior becoming clear in a series of A-Ha moments that are just thrilling to discover! I will continue to recommend her books to all my friends. Brava Ms Waters!!!"
My favorite of all Sarah Waters' books I've read so far (this one and all the ones before). I'm starting on the newest one today.