Sunday, September 24, 2006

The Night Watch

Wasn't sure if I'd be reviewing Sarah Waters' The Night Watch for Starmag or not, which is why I didn't blog about it straight after I'd read it. As it happened, Andrew Ng did the job, and did it very well indeed. His review appeared in Friday's Star, and echo my feelings about the book. Unlike Andrew, I haven't read any of Waters' other books (yeah, I know, I know), so was coming to the author without preconceptions.

There was much that I did really like about the novel. I like the way that the story moves backward in time. It opens in 1947. The scars of war are still apparent in the bombed out streets. Waters' create a chain of characters each carrying guilty secrets. The promise that we going to learn the answers propels us through the story, although it is not in the end completely fulfilled. (But then, isn't life like that?)

I particularly like the structure of the book - the way it opens in the post war years and then moves backwards to tell the stories of different individuals I like the almost accidental way their lives intersect. Many of the scenes take place at night when emotions are rawest : each scene is like a searchlight illuminating momentarily important moments in the characters' lives.

Waters' recreaction of the London blitz is excellent and I think that this is the first time that fiction had taken me there.

No comments: