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The Night Watch

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The Night Watch Cover

ISBN13: 9781594482304
ISBN10: 1594482306
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A novel of relationships set in 1940s London that brims with vivid historical detail, thrilling coincidences, and psychological complexity, by the author of the Booker Prize finalist Fingersmith.

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 for her soldier lover, the peculiar thrill of a convict watching the sky ignite through the bars on his window, the hunger of a woman stalking the streets for an encounter, and the panic of another who sees her love affair coming to an end. At the same time, Waters is in absolute control of a narrative that offers up subtle surprises and exquisite twists, even as it depicts the impact of a 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).

Review:

"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." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Over the past several years, English writer Sarah Waters has captured a corner of the market with a genre she created, the 'Victorian lesbian romp.' Beginning with male impersonators in the music-hall world in 'Tipping the Velvet' and continuing with charlatan psychics in 'Affinity,' Waters graduated to the full-blown Victorian sensation novel in the Booker Prize-nominated 'Fingersmith.' It featured... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"A cut below this author's superb earlier books, but very much worth reading." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"[A] sophisticated, beautifully written novel by a writer who has reached her maturity. To achieve it, Waters has sacrificed some of the youthful exuberance that made her first three novels such a joy to read. While applauding her talent, I miss the romp." Tracy Chevalier, The Washington Post

Review:

"Readers will be tempted to return to the beginning of Waters' elegant novel after turning the final page to fully appreciate the depth of the characters and their connections to each other." Booklist

Review:

"Not as dark or lust-filled as her Victorian novels, The Night Watch is still sexually and psychologically provocative. The characters' non-mainstream lifestyle choices breathe new life into a time-honored but time-worn genre." USA Today

Review:

"[C]aptivating — if occasionally turbulent....For all the vigor and intensity of its prose, The Night Watch leaves us with the sense that both the reader's experience and the characters' lives have been manipulated to suit the author's design." David Leavitt, The New York Times Book Review

Review:

"Waters freshens the genre by shining a spotlight on those often overlooked by history buffs....In doing so she gives a splendid and intelligent voice not just to society's fringe, but to a tense moment in history that in our post 9/11 world is a little too familiar." The Oregonian (Portland, OR)

Review:

"Waters has a sure touch and an empathic, but not sentimental style....For the reader who values complex characters and a fine elegiac prose, this novel will not disappoint." Rocky Mountain News

Synopsis:

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.

Synopsis:

From the bestselling author of The Little Stranger and Fingersmith, an enthralling novel about a widow and her daughter who take a young couple into their home in 1920s London.

It is 1922, and London is tense. Ex-servicemen are disillusioned; the out-of-work and the hungry are demanding change. And in South London, in a genteel Camberwell villa—a large, silent house now bereft of brothers, husband, and even servants—life is about to be transformed as impoverished widow Mrs. Wray and her spinster daughter, Frances, are obliged to take in lodgers.

With the arrival of Lilian and Leonard Barber, a modern young couple of the “clerk class,” the routines of the house will be shaken up in unexpected ways. Little do the Wrays know just how profoundly their new tenants will alter the course of Francess life—or, as passions mount and frustration gathers, how far-reaching, and how devastating, the disturbances will be.

Short-listed for the Man Booker Prize three times, Sarah Waters has earned a reputation as one of our greatest writers of historical fiction, and here she has delivered again. A love story, a tension-filled crime story, and a beautifully atmospheric portrait of a fascinating time and place, The Paying Guests is Sarah Waterss finest achievement yet.

About the Author

Sarah Waters is the author of Tipping the Velvet, a New York Times Notable Book; Affinity, for which she won the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year award; and Fingersmith, which was shortlisted for both the Orange Prize and for the Man Booker Prize in 2002. In 2003, she was named one of Granta's best British writers under 40.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 6 comments:

Skye1, January 30, 2013 (view all comments by Skye1)
Enjoyable read.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Tara McDaniel, May 5, 2009 (view all comments by Tara McDaniel)
Well, well--another beautiful novel by Sarah Waters. I'm actually on the crack between giving the book a 4 or a 5; if you would have asked me what I thought for the first half, I would have said 3.5, but by the end I thought 4.5. Like, almost perfect, but somehow boring in some places. I really really loved Duncan and his whole story, but for whatever reason, Mickey and Kay were less interesting. Maybe because in Tipping the Velvet there were characters so similar that I couldn't help but "feel" that book in this book. I was confused half the time between the female characters of Helen, Viv, Julia. They just didn't seem all that different (except that I kept reminding myself that Viv had dark hair, and was with Reggie).

So all this sounds pretty bad, right, why would I give the novel a 4.5? Well, it certainly made me want to keep reading it, I wanted desperately to know how everything was connected at the end. I really liked the backwards telling, actually, and the little things that were kept out of the story. The dialogue and descriptions in this story are *amazing*. And the end--wow. Wow! It's like "pow pow pow!" and that made it all worth it to me. Even the boring parts. And I finally did get everybody sorted out in the end, and that made everything that came before it brilliant. I can say that in retrospect, I guess. An enjoyable read
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(1 of 6 readers found this comment helpful)
Bookwomyn, July 3, 2007 (view all comments by Bookwomyn)
I have not cared much for her earlier work but I did very much enjoy this novel. While it takes a bit of concentration to keep everyone straight in the beginning, it's not a problem after mid-way. Each character becomes important to the reader and leaving one to attend to the other is a sad leave-taking. I highly recommend this book.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(14 of 30 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 6 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9781594482304
Author:
Waters, Sarah
Publisher:
Riverhead Books
Subject:
General
Subject:
Historical - General
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
Historical
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20060931
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Pages:
560
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 1 lb
Age Level:
from 18

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Related Subjects


Featured Titles » Literature
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Gay and Lesbian » Fiction and Poetry » Lesbian Fiction
History and Social Science » American Studies » Popular Culture

The Night Watch Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$2.95 In Stock
Product details 560 pages Riverhead Books - English 9781594482304 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "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." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "A cut below this author's superb earlier books, but very much worth reading."
"Review" by , "[A] sophisticated, beautifully written novel by a writer who has reached her maturity. To achieve it, Waters has sacrificed some of the youthful exuberance that made her first three novels such a joy to read. While applauding her talent, I miss the romp."
"Review" by , "Readers will be tempted to return to the beginning of Waters' elegant novel after turning the final page to fully appreciate the depth of the characters and their connections to each other."
"Review" by , "Not as dark or lust-filled as her Victorian novels, The Night Watch is still sexually and psychologically provocative. The characters' non-mainstream lifestyle choices breathe new life into a time-honored but time-worn genre."
"Review" by , "[C]aptivating — if occasionally turbulent....For all the vigor and intensity of its prose, The Night Watch leaves us with the sense that both the reader's experience and the characters' lives have been manipulated to suit the author's design."
"Review" by , "Waters freshens the genre by shining a spotlight on those often overlooked by history buffs....In doing so she gives a splendid and intelligent voice not just to society's fringe, but to a tense moment in history that in our post 9/11 world is a little too familiar."
"Review" by , "Waters has a sure touch and an empathic, but not sentimental style....For the reader who values complex characters and a fine elegiac prose, this novel will not disappoint."
"Synopsis" by , 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.
"Synopsis" by ,
From the bestselling author of The Little Stranger and Fingersmith, an enthralling novel about a widow and her daughter who take a young couple into their home in 1920s London.

It is 1922, and London is tense. Ex-servicemen are disillusioned; the out-of-work and the hungry are demanding change. And in South London, in a genteel Camberwell villa—a large, silent house now bereft of brothers, husband, and even servants—life is about to be transformed as impoverished widow Mrs. Wray and her spinster daughter, Frances, are obliged to take in lodgers.

With the arrival of Lilian and Leonard Barber, a modern young couple of the “clerk class,” the routines of the house will be shaken up in unexpected ways. Little do the Wrays know just how profoundly their new tenants will alter the course of Francess life—or, as passions mount and frustration gathers, how far-reaching, and how devastating, the disturbances will be.

Short-listed for the Man Booker Prize three times, Sarah Waters has earned a reputation as one of our greatest writers of historical fiction, and here she has delivered again. A love story, a tension-filled crime story, and a beautifully atmospheric portrait of a fascinating time and place, The Paying Guests is Sarah Waterss finest achievement yet.

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