The Night Watch

by Sarah Waters | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 1844082423 Global Overview for this book
Registered by nrrdgrrl of Tunbridge Wells, Kent United Kingdom on 5/28/2006
Buy from one of these Booksellers: | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon DE | Amazon FR | Amazon IT |
4 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by nrrdgrrl from Tunbridge Wells, Kent United Kingdom on Sunday, May 28, 2006
brand new book looks old and worn on purpose.
bought at johannesburg airport. not sure if i can take it back home again, it's very heavy and i've got a ton of baggage to transport!


handed this in the safe custody of maupi's hands during an improvised meetup in café de jaren in amsterdam. maup knows lots of people who want to read this brick. it may even end up at violoncellix's, who expressed her interest.

i myself never got past the second chapter because, as mentioned before, the brand new book is too heavy to take home again (after i bought a spinning wheel and prefer to take that weight instead of this).

Journal Entry 3 by wingvioloncellixwing from not specified, not specified not specified on Tuesday, June 06, 2006
Oh, what a nice surprise, arranged by nrrdgrrl and maupi with a litlle bit of help from cellotape! I look forward to reading this brick during the summer holidays. Maybe one day it will end up in an OBCZ in Johannesburg :-)

Journal Entry 4 by wingvioloncellixwing from not specified, not specified not specified on Sunday, February 11, 2007
After reading that some Bookcrossing colleagues whose tastes I respect were disappointed by The Night Watch, I began reading the book with some misgivings. Nevertheless, in spite of a slow start I grew more and more intrigued by the book. The reverse chronology (1947, 1944, 1941) worked really well for me. Tension has not been built into the plot by creating uncertainty about the future (will this person survive the bombing in 1944? –well obviously, as she was around in the 1947 part), but by uncertainty about the past (why is Helen so irrationally jealous of Julia? Why the hell does Viv stay with her good-for-nothing part-time lover?). Style does not seem to be Sarah Waters’ strongest point, and indeed, after reading maupi’s journal entry in the other Dutch BC-ring of The Night Watch ( I also spotted some unnecessary metaphors. But such strong and tight plotting!

Nrrdgrrl, thank you once again for leaving this book in the Netherlands for me to savour, and thanks to maupi and cellotape for passing it on.

I will PM nrrdgrrl to ask about the future journey of this worthwhile novel.

Journal Entry 5 by lot12 from Amsterdam, Noord-Holland Netherlands on Sunday, February 18, 2007
Thank you for taking it with you tonight, violoncellix! I'm interested in reading this, because of the turned chronology.

Journal Entry 6 by French-girl on Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Arrived this morning with the mail. Thanks a lot Lot12, I'm looking forward to reading it!

Journal Entry 7 by lot12 from Amsterdam, Noord-Holland Netherlands on Saturday, March 17, 2007
Hello French-girl and other journallers,
I'n sorry to break in. I hadn't found the time to make a proper journal entry yet. I had to make a selection, because I didn't want to burden another reader with all 900+ words I wrote about this book. And then time slipped away... So, here it is, a bit late.

Sarah Waters wanted to tell the story of what becomes of people who survive a war and that is why she used this particular structure, in my opinion. She tells about four Londoners, almost, almost, arbitrarily chosen. They are not big time heroes, they’re caught up in the war and trying to make the best of it.
Cynically, they succeed. War becomes next to normal to them, even though it influences every particle of their lives. It even gives life a lurid shine, an unknown urgency. Compared to that, settling afterwards is rather dull, however much easier things are. I am tempted to say Waters wrote her novel this way, with the backwards chronology, to show this: scarred, wounded persons picking up normalcy, trying to act like everything is over.

At all times people are secretly or openly thinking about the other periods told about in the book. They have a hard time to settle in the time they’re in, even though they live on. That is the melancholy notion I read in the book. Each time has its “merits”, but it can only be seen in retrospect or in prospect. At the same time there is life, pushing on, urging people to survive and to take as normal what is extraordinary. The ruthless comfort of life pushing on, no matter what happens: a knowledge that hurts and at the same time eases away the pain. That's how I read it.

Contrary to my expectations, I liked the book a lot. I understood and wanted to know about all the characters, Helen being the notable exception, Helen, whom I thought a flat character, a vehicle for the stories of others. I felt for all the others, which surprised me. I’m not easily charmed.
However, now and then Waters interfered in the relationship between these Londoners and me with lengthy descriptions (a paragraph about lighting a pipe!) and long winded scenes as if she herself couldn’t say goodbye to them. I got bored. Especially when Helen lingered on stage.

That said, I’m curious what she will come up with next.

I wouldn’t have minded keeping the book and bringing it with me to the different places to come. But, gladly, I feel obligated to keep Bookcrossing books travelling (even though no one makes me). So I sent the book on to French-girl. Happy reading!

Journal Entry 8 by French-girl at Utrecht, Utrecht Netherlands on Monday, January 02, 2012
I enjoyed the book very much - apparently did not take the time to make an entry - too bad; it was a great read.
Left with a bookworm colleague :) Hope she enjoys it!

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