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The Watch That Ends the Night: Voices from the Titanic

by Allan Wolf

Other authors: Jon Klassen (Cover artist)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2923264,405 (4.29)3
Recreates the 1912 sinking of the Titanic as observed by millionaire John Jacob Astor, a beautiful young Lebanese refugee finding first love, "Unsinkable" Molly Brown, Captain Smith, and others including the iceberg itself.
  1. 00
    The Dressmaker by Kate Alcott (BookshelfMonstrosity)
  2. 00
    Song of the Sparrow by Lisa Ann Sandell (Joles)
    Joles: Both books are written in verse and are written for a YA audience about historical events.
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» See also 3 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 32 (next | show all)
I'm becoming intrigued by the genre of novels-in-verse and enjoyed this one very much.

This was written in free verse and included fourteen different perspectives on the voyage and sinking of the Titanic. It also included multiple wireless transmissions to and from the ship, and most (but not all) were real. I appreciated the range of perspectives, which included not only a variety of passengers and crew from all classes but also a convincing ship's rat and even the iceberg, and I'd recommend it for an exercise in point-of-view.

I know quite a few people have complained about the iceberg (and, near the beginning, its parent glacier) being included, but I thoroughly approved of it. I think we need to consider nature more often, especially since the number and severity of natural disasters is increasing because we haven't thought of nature nearly as often or as seriously as we should be. I also appreciated the touch of having the iceberg's poems get shorter and shorter as it eventually got swept into the Gulf Stream and began to melt. Its last poem was only two words.

The book also gave the perspective of Thomas Andrews, who designed Titanic and was sailing on it. One thing I didn't know before this was that he was an amateur apiarist, and so the poetry written from his perspective included a lot about bees and their behavior. This is true even in the last poem written from his perspective, when he compares the passengers on Titanic to a swarm of bees that must leave their hive but have nowhere to go. I also appreciated how, during this last poem, the lines of text began to tilt as the ship also began to list and sink.

The poem on pages 368-369 was absolutely chilling. The central circular section was meant to represent the pattern of the bodies of all the dying victims and composed of short phrases or even single words to represent their thoughts. The word “cold” was represented in the central text in nine different languages other than English, representing the diversity of all the third-class victims. And the other short phrases help illustrate the humanity of the victims and make the panic and confusion seem almost palpable. Not only that, but while the only words at the top of the circle were "help," the only words at the bottom were “heaven.”

It’s surrounded by alternating stanzas from the first-class promenade poem as well as the third-class promenade poem. To me the stanzas represent the wreckage of the ship (most of both promenades are now beneath the sea). Alternatively, the stanzas could represent the few lifeboats, especially since they are grammatically correct and in full sentences – much more orderly and without the sense of panicked confusion. Either way, the whole poem was spectacularly done.

I know the author said he used actual wireless transmissions for the most part. So I’m curious to know whether the pattern in the transmissions shown on page 360 actually occurred or whether it was artistic license:

MGY MGY SOS CQD
MGY MG- -OS CQD
M-Y -G- -OS C-D
M-Y -G- -O- --D

In other words, did the final transmissions really end up spelling out “My God” or not? We know the very first line was actually sent out; MGY was the call sign of Titanic and CQD was the predecessor of SOS. (Contrary to popular belief, Titanic was not the first ship to use SOS,. Also, SOS does not actually stand for anything; it was chosen for its short, simple, and distinctive pattern of dots and dashes). It's also virtually a certainty that they began to lose the ability to broadcast certain letters as time went on. Furthermore, we know the last series of V’s was real, although whether Titanic was its source is not known for sure. So I am truly curious about this, and if the wireless distress calls eventually decayed to "My God" that is also chilling.

Speaking of the wireless, I thought it was a great idea to incorporate actual Morse code into the poetry written from Harold Bride's perspective. The notes to the book included translations for each line, as well as the alphabet in Morse code for more ambitious readers to do their own decoding.

And as far as the “Notes” section goes, it was incredible. Profiles of all of the real people whose perspectives Wolf incorporated (including whether they survived or not), translations of foreign words and phrases, and of course the Morse code translations and alphabet. Very well done. ( )
  Jennifer708 | Mar 21, 2020 |
I'm becoming intrigued by the genre of novels-in-verse and enjoyed this one very much.

This was written in free verse and included fourteen different perspectives on the voyage and sinking of the Titanic. It also included multiple wireless transmissions to and from the ship, and most (but not all) were real. I appreciated the range of perspectives, which included not only a variety of passengers and crew from all classes but also a convincing ship's rat and even the iceberg, and I'd recommend it for an exercise in point-of-view.

I know quite a few people have complained about the iceberg (and, near the beginning, its parent glacier) being included, but I thoroughly approved of it. I think we need to consider nature more often, especially since the number and severity of natural disasters is increasing because we haven't thought of nature nearly as often or as seriously as we should be. I also appreciated the touch of having the iceberg's poems get shorter and shorter as it eventually got swept into the Gulf Stream and began to melt. Its last poem was only two words.

The book also gave the perspective of Thomas Andrews, who designed Titanic and was sailing on it. One thing I didn't know before this was that he was an amateur apiarist, and so the poetry written from his perspective included a lot about bees and their behavior. This is true even in the last poem written from his perspective, when he compares the passengers on Titanic to a swarm of bees that must leave their hive but have nowhere to go. I also appreciated how, during this last poem, the lines of text began to tilt as the ship also began to list and sink.

The poem on pages 368-369 was absolutely chilling. The central circular section was meant to represent the pattern of the bodies of all the dying victims and composed of short phrases or even single words to represent their thoughts. The word “cold” was represented in the central text in nine different languages other than English, representing the diversity of all the third-class victims. And the other short phrases help illustrate the humanity of the victims and make the panic and confusion seem almost palpable. Not only that, but while the only words at the top of the circle were "help," the only words at the bottom were “heaven.”

It’s surrounded by alternating stanzas from the first-class promenade poem as well as the third-class promenade poem. To me the stanzas represent the wreckage of the ship (most of both promenades are now beneath the sea). Alternatively, the stanzas could represent the few lifeboats, especially since they are grammatically correct and in full sentences – much more orderly and without the sense of panicked confusion. Either way, the whole poem was spectacularly done.

I know the author said he used actual wireless transmissions for the most part. So I’m curious to know whether the pattern in the transmissions shown on page 360 actually occurred or whether it was artistic license:

MGY MGY SOS CQD
MGY MG- -OS CQD
M-Y -G- -OS C-D
M-Y -G- -O- --D

In other words, did the final transmissions really end up spelling out “My God” or not? We know the very first line was actually sent out; MGY was the call sign of Titanic and CQD was the predecessor of SOS. (Contrary to popular belief, Titanic was not the first ship to use SOS,. Also, SOS does not actually stand for anything; it was chosen for its short, simple, and distinctive pattern of dots and dashes). It's also virtually a certainty that they began to lose the ability to broadcast certain letters as time went on. Furthermore, we know the last series of V’s was real, although whether Titanic was its source is not known for sure. So I am truly curious about this, and if the wireless distress calls eventually decayed to "My God" that is also chilling.

Speaking of the wireless, I thought it was a great idea to incorporate actual Morse code into the poetry written from Harold Bride's perspective. The notes to the book included translations for each line, as well as the alphabet in Morse code for more ambitious readers to do their own decoding.

And as far as the “Notes” section goes, it was incredible. Profiles of all of the real people whose perspectives Wolf incorporated (including whether they survived or not), translations of foreign words and phrases, and of course the Morse code translations and alphabet. Very well done. ( )
  Jennifer708 | Mar 21, 2020 |
This novel in verse tells the story of the sinking of the Titanic as experienced by 20 real passengers and crew (as well as a ship's rat, the iceberg, and an undertaker). ( )
  rdg301library | Nov 20, 2018 |
Rating: To Come

I am beyond excited to read this extremely unique book about the legendary Titanic. It is told in 24 point of views including a ship rat and the tragic iceberg. The entire story is told as a very long free-verse poem with makes the story even more intriguing.

I have always been fascinated with the historic Titanic. I've seen the movie, that stars Leonardo DiCaprio, countless times. I have been to various museums. But, I have yet to find that one book that speaks to the true events and brings it to life. I hope this book is the one.

Please Note: This is an out-of-publication book. There also is no ebook for this book as there are features to the book that does not allow it to be digitally copied such as many line breaks and slanting (hence imitating the ship sinking).
  ne.may97 | Jan 1, 2018 |
A very unique and fascinating look at an historic event told through the voices of those who were there. If you read one book about the Titanic, let this one be it.

http://nicolewbrown.blogspot.com/2016/07/the-watch-that-ends-night-voices-from.h...

You see, I’m trying both instruments out, runnin’ each through her trials if you like, in order to decide which of the two will be Jock Home’s “life instrument.” The choice is much the same as choosing a wife—maybe even more difficult. Choosing a wife was easy enough for me. Mary Costin will soon be the mother of my child. So Mary will be the lady of my house, but my violin, she will become the voice of my soul.
-Allan Wolf (The Watch That Ends the Night: Voices From the Titanic p 74)
And I wondered how the word boy could possibly apply to both my vile annoying brother and the pretty thing before me, standing on the crane.
-Allan Wolf (The Watch That Ends the Night: Voices From the Titanic p 78)
Man’s fatal flaw is misplaced optimism: through hubris, it refuses to understand that chaos is the ruling law of Nature while order’s just a futile dream of man.
-Allan Wolf (The Watch That Ends the Night: Voices From the Titanic p 95)
Mrs. Candee commented that all of us passengers reminded her of a fancy-dress party in hell. And I quite agreed. Everyone wore a hodgepodge combination of sleepwear, evening wear, and winter wear—all of it layered in disarray. The orchestra added to the effect when it assembled on deck and launched into an endless series of ragtime tunes.
-Allan Wolf (The Watch That Ends the Night: Voices From the Titanic p 323) ( )
  nicolewbrown | Jul 31, 2016 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Allan Wolfprimary authorall editionscalculated
Dawe, AngelaReadermain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gigante, PhilReadermain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lane, ChristopherReadermain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Merlington, LauralReadermain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Page, MichaelReadermain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Klassen, JonCover artistsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Audio, Candlewick on BrilliancePublishersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Dale and Evelyn
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Embalmers don't typically make house calls.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Recreates the 1912 sinking of the Titanic as observed by millionaire John Jacob Astor, a beautiful young Lebanese refugee finding first love, "Unsinkable" Molly Brown, Captain Smith, and others including the iceberg itself.
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