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The Night Watch by Sarah Waters

The Night Watch (original 2006; edition 2006)

by Sarah Waters

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
3,3851241,603 (3.69)1 / 516
Title:The Night Watch
Authors:Sarah Waters
Info:Riverhead Trade (2006), Edition: X, Paperback, 544 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:GLBTRT, Stonewall Book Awards, Stonewall Honor Books in Literature, 2007

Work details

The Night Watch by Sarah Waters (2006)

  1. 61
    Fingersmith by Sarah Waters (withwill)
  2. 10
    Fault Lines by Nancy Huston (jayne_charles)
    jayne_charles: Both employ reverse chronology to tell a story with its roots in WWII
  3. 00
    The Very Thought of You by Rosie Alison (mrstreme)
  4. 00
    Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein (ebr_aumkw, kgriffith)
  5. 13
    The Postmistress by Sarah Blake (kiwiflowa)
    kiwiflowa: both have female protagonists and are about the London Blitz during WWII

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English (116)  Dutch (3)  Swedish (3)  French (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (124)
Showing 1-5 of 116 (next | show all)
Beautifully constructed novel. ( )
  Big_Blue | Sep 29, 2015 |
Having one's city bombed must have been horrible, and this is presented in a way that felt real. It seems that a lot of work had to go into minimizing the damage, including watching a neighborhood area, rescuing the wounded, providing medical care, and putting out fires. Love and sex in such times seems to be used to comfort each other and to make the world a little less scary. This book address the topic of what happens once the bombing is over and personal relationships change. Some of the characters have a hard time adjusting to the less intense post-war life. The war, however miserable, provided a purpose that characters were not able to maintain after the war, and it is easy to empathize with this. The plot was presented in reverse (1947, 1944, 1941), which was surprisingly effective. This method built suspense because it caused wonder about what could have possibly happened to set up the current situation. Overall, this was worthwhile reading with interesting and realistically complex characters. ( )
  karmiel | Aug 20, 2015 |
I like the way this book told the story "backwards": it starts in 1947 and goes back to 1945, then 1941. In this way, we get to know the characters in the present, and gradually learn their history, much like we encounter people in real life. The characters were wonderfully complex people and well developed.

In the end, the author pursued certain story lines that I found less interesting than several not pursued. ( )
  LynnB | Jul 25, 2015 |
I wasn't so sure about this at 1st, but I always love a great WWII love story and this book was interesting and didn't disappoint! Actually quite a good read. The way the writer set the story was definitely different - I enjoyed knowing that they survived all the traumatic events and was later filled in on how they got to where they were at the beginning of the book however, was surprised at how the ending just ended. I wanted more, so I knew at the end, that although it wouldn't have been a must read for me, I did enjoy getting to know these interesting characters. ( )
  booklovers2 | Jul 9, 2015 |
This book was chosen by LibraryThing for a One LibraryThing One Book read by LibraryThing members in May and June 2015. This struck me as an interesting way to read a book and it was easy to get a copy from my local library. Other than that I didn't really know anything about the book so I had no preconceptions about it.

The book takes place in and after World War II and follows four relatively young Londoners, three women and one man, who are all defying society's norms regarding sexuality. Kay was an ambulance driver in the war and was a lesbian with mannish clothing and haircut. Helen worked in one of the war offices and has had relationships with both men and women. Vivien also worked in a war office as a typist. She entered into a relationship with a married man during the war. Duncan is Vivien's brother and he spent the war in jail although it is not clear until the last what his crime was. Duncan is also a homosexual. Besides the sibling relationship there are other connections between the main characters. The really interesting thing about the book is how it is structured. It starts in 1947, then goes back to 1944 and finishes in 1941 with the incidents that placed the characters in the situations they found themselves in later. This unconventional approach made the book more like a mystery which was just fine with me.

People who are repulsed by homosexuality should give this book a pass but for anyone else interested in the lives of ordinary people during the war I would recommend it. ( )
  gypsysmom | Jun 22, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 116 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Sarah Watersprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Acqua, Giancarlo Dell'Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Adler, SigalTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Almazán, LauraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
中村有希訳Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bützow, HeleneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bingül, FigenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brandt, BillCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Camp, Marion Op denTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Danielsson, UllaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Defossé, AlainTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dewey, AmandaDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
藍涓Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gawlik-Małkowska, MagdalenaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Houstrup, VibekeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Κορτώ, ΑύγουστοςTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Parés, NúriaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Puchalská, Barbora PungeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Voss, AndreaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vujačić, PetarTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wilson, GabrieleCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zulaika, JaimeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Сафронова, АлександраTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Lucy Vaughan
First words
So this, said Kay to herself, is the sort of person you've become: a person whose clocks and wrist-watches have stopped, and who tells the time, instead, by the particular kind of cripple arriving at her landlord's door.
"But, isn't it funny -- we never seem to love the people we ought to."
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 159448905X, Hardcover)

Sarah Waters, whose works set in Victorian England have awards and acclaim and have reinvigorated the genres of both historical and lesbian fiction, returns with novel that marks a departure from nineteenth century and a spectacular leap forward in the career of this masterful storyteller.

Moving back through the 1940s, through air raids, blacked-out streets, illicit liasons, and sexual adventure, to end with its beginning in 1941, The Night Watch tells the story of Londoners: three women and a young man with a past-whose lives, and those of their friends and lovers, connect in ways that are surprising not always known to them. In wartime London, the women work-as ambulance drivers, ministry clerks, and building inspectors. There are feats of heroism, epic and quotidian, and tragedies both enormous and personal, but the emotional interiors of her characters that Waters captures with absolute and intimacy.

Waters describes with perfect knowingness the taut composure of a rescue worker in the aftermath of a bombing, the idle longing of a young woman her soldier lover, the peculiar thrill convict watching the sky ignite through the bars on his window, the hunger a woman stalking the streets for encounter, and the panic of another who sees her love affair coming end. At the same time, Waters is absolute control of a narrative that offers up subtle surprises and exquisite twists, even as it depicts the impact grand historical event on individual lives.

Tender, tragic, and beautifully poignant, The Night Watch is a towering achievement that confirms its author as "one of the best storytellers alive today" (Independent on Sunday).

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:04:00 -0400)

Set in 1940s London, this story follows four characters - Kay, Helen, Viv and Duncan - as they deal with their everyday lives, set against the backdrop of World War Two.

(summary from another edition)

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