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More than 2,000 men, women, and children are on board. Here on the first-class promenade is millionaire John Jacob Astor, who hopes his return from Egypt with his pregnant teen bride will invite a minimum of media attention. And here, in the third-class common room, a beautiful Lebanese refugee, on her way to family in Florida, discovers first love. And there in the distance, shrouded in darkness, an ancient iceberg lies patient, awaiting its encounter.
The voices in this wholly unique re-creation of the Titanic disaster span classes and stations, from Margaret (“the unsinkable Molly”) Brown to Captain E.J. Smith, who went down with his ship; from the lookout and wireless men to a young boy in search of dragons and a gambler in search of fools with money to lose. Slipping in telegraphs, undertaker’s reports, and other historic records, poet Allan Wolf offers a breathtaking, intimate glimpse into the lives of two dozen passengers and crew, told with astounding emotional power.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By DONNA on 12-15-12
Compelling retelling, evocative performance
I rarely review a book, but wanted to comment on this one, especially in light of the reaction of the other reviewers to the ice and the rat. I found the retelling of the Titanic's tragedy compelling, which is high praise when the material is so familiar, and the performance was stellar.
First, this is not a history book, but poetry. If you come to it expecting a straight history, you will be disappointed. I liked the ice and loved the rat. As I was listening, the commentary of the ice reminded me of the chorus in a Greek drama. As for the rat, have you ever before given a moment's thought to the rats that also went down with the ship? I don't know which of the cast read the rat, but it was perfect, vividly portraying a real rat, scuttling about in the dark. I also thought that the handling of the post office, which another listener found repetitive, had the same effect. The reading of the simple, repeated words brought the mailroom and it's work vividly to life. I also enjoyed the clever promenade sections, sometimes backing up to listen to them again, and was impressed with how they were woven back into the narrative at the end.
The language of the book was evocative in a way that a straightforward narrative could never be, and gave depth and human richness to the characters, both the good and the bad. I must say, however, that as fine as the book itself was, I'm not sure I would have much liked it as a print read. This is writing not for the eye but for the ear, and the narrators in this recording deserve five stars and more for the color and life they brought to it. I had originally downloaded this free from the public library, but partway through purchased it from Audible. I knew even before the end that this was a book I wanted in my permanent library.
5 of 6 people found this review helpful
By danny lawrence on 11-28-12
It could have happened that way
What did you like best about The Watch That Ends the Night? What did you like least?
I enjoyed the varied experiences from a wide cross section of the passengers and crew of Titanic. The rat and iceberg were a little irritating but not too offputting. Their contributions were brief enough and gave the author a chance to add a little change of pace to the story.
How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?
Actually this was a unique telling of the story. The compartmentalization of the story feed everything piece by piece but it still had a timeline flow that worked.
What does the narrators bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?
They brought distinctive voices to each of the characters. Each character was given a depth of personality that helped bring the story to life
Do you think The Watch That Ends the Night needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?
No, the voyage is over
Any additional comments?
This was a bit unusual but not bad at all really. The author weaves facts with fiction to make a compelling story. It was worth listening to. I would say a good read
4 of 5 people found this review helpful