Anna Hope’s brilliant debut unfolds over the course of five days, as three women must deal with the aftershocks of World War I and its impact on the men in their lives.
Wake: 1) Emerge or cause to emerge from sleep. 2) Ritual for the dead. 3) Consequence or aftermath.
London, 1920: The city prepares to observe the two-year anniversary of Armistice Day with the burial of the unknown soldier. Many are still haunted by the war: Hettie, a dance instructress, lives at home with her mother and her brother, who is mute after his return from combat. One night Hettie meets a wealthy, educated man and finds herself smitten with him. But there is something distracted about him, something she cannot reach.... Evelyn works at the Pensions Exchange, through which thousands of men have claimed benefits from wounds or debilitating distress. Embittered by her own loss, she looks for solace in her adored brother, who has not been the same since he returned from the front.... Ada is beset by visions of her son on every street, convinced he is still alive. Helpless, her loving husband has withdrawn from her. Then one day a young man appears at her door, seemingly with notions to peddle, like hundreds of out-of-work veterans. But when he utters the name of her son, Ada is jolted to the core.
The lives of these three women are braided together, their stories gathering tremendous power as the ties that bind them become clear, and the body of the unknown soldier moves closer and closer to its final resting place.
"Wake is a tender and timely novel, full of compassion and quiet insight. The author gives us a moving and original glimpse into the haunted peace after the Great War, her characters drawn by the gravity of the unmarked, the unknown, and perhaps, finally, the unhoped for." (Chris Cleave, author of Little Bee)
"Wake is powerful and humane, a novel that charms and beguiles. Anna Hope’s characters are so real, flawed, and searching, and her prose so natural, one almost forgets how very great a story she is telling." (Sadie Jones, author of The Uninvited Guests)
"Using telling detail, Hope creates a vibrant physical and emotional landscape in which her leading characters, and a sea of others, move irresistibly into the future, some having found resolution, others still in search. Fresh, confident, yet understated, Hope’s first work movingly revisits immense tragedy while also confirming her own highly promising ability." (Kirkus Reviews)
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Devastation in the wake of war
- D. Ward "game player"
Monotonously read through most
- N. Thomas "nancynurse"