The Night Watch

  • by Sarah Waters
  • Narrated by Juanita McMahon
  • 19 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Moving back through the 1940s, through air raids, blacked out streets, illicit liaisons, sexual adventure, to end with its beginning in 1941, The Night Watch is the work of a truly brilliant and compelling storyteller. This is the story of four Londoners, three women and a young man with a past, drawn with absolute truth and intimacy.Kay, who drove an ambulance during the war and lived life at full throttle, now dresses in mannish clothes and wanders the streets with a restless hunger, searching; Helen, clever, sweet, much-loved, harbours a painful secret; Viv, glamour girl, is stubbornly, even foolishly loyal, to her soldier lover; Duncan, an apparent innocent, has had his own demons to fight during the war. Their lives, and their secrets connect in sometimes startling ways. War leads to strange alliances.Tender, tragic, and beautifully poignant, set against the backdrop of feats of heroism both epic and ordinary, here is a novel of relationships that offers up subtle surprises and twists. The Night Watch is thrilling. A towering achievement.

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What the Critics Say

"A truthful, lovely book that needs no conjuring tricks to make you want to read it again." (Observer)
"Brilliantly done....A tour-de-force of hints, clues, and dropped threads." (Independent on Sunday)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Atmospheric and suspenseful

This wonderful novel explores the lives and relationships of a handful of women and men in post-war London. The writer has created very realistic, believable characters; as a reader I felt I really got to know them and cared about them. The structure of the book is very effective, as it moves backwards in time to reveal how the characters met and what has brought them to this point in the story. This adds a nice touch of suspense. Sarah Waters brilliantly recreates the atmosphere of London during the blitz and in the years immediately following the war. I didn’t want the book to end, which for me is always a good measure of a novel.
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- Lisa

An interesting book, which I failed to finish.

I bought this book because I had been looking for a fictional novel focussing on Londoners during WWII. In this, I suppose I was always going to be disappointed.

This is the story of four people living through the war, but I suppose I'd been expecting more detail of life in London - especially given that the summary mentioned Kay driving ambulances. However the book focuses very strongly on the personal lives and problems of the character, as opposed to the overarching theme of war.
The queer themes were completely unexpected, but not unwelcome, I'm always on the hunt for some good queer lit. and was pleased to find some set in an era long past.

The problem, I feel, was twofold - one, the characters were, for the most part, difficult to relate to and their inner monologues often lead me to dislike them, and two, the story seemed to drag to the point where very interesting moments became dull and unending.

The narrator did a superb job. I was a little unsure of her performance when I began the audiobook, but as the story progressed I began to feel that her reading suited the book very well.

I did my best to complete this novel because I did enjoy the plot, but in the end I simply couldn't make myself continue listening. Perhaps I'll pick it up again one day, I rather hope I do for the sake of completion, but if I do I don't doubt that I will find it just as difficult to complete as I have this time.
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- Scoundrel

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-10-2006
  • Publisher: Hachette Audio UK