Monday, October 6, 2008

The Night Watch

This is a book that I read entirely because of the cover. The eerie, foggy cityscape sucked me in first. Then the fact that the book was up for The Booker Prize intrigued me. And finally the buzzword reviews like "captivating" and "masterful" convinced me to put the book on my list. And while I would not go as far as either of those reviewers, and who knows, they might not have gone that far either, the book was interesting.

The most interesting aspect of it was that it was told in reverse chronological order. Well sort of. The book starts in 1947 and moves forward for a week or two. Then it resets to 1944 and again goes forward a week or two. And finally it ends in 1941 and goes forward again. In the end we see are able to understand what turned out to be the evolution of the characters as we see after the fact the events that brought them to the point where we first meet them.

But I do have one big complaint. I object after the fact to the lack of explanation for Viv's relationship in 1947. There's a gap that is never filled in, and I'll leave it at that for fear of spoilage.

While these are not my favorite characters of all time, Waters does an excellent job of describing them and their lives. I wish that after the 1941 section she had actually moved forward back to 1947 so that we could learn what happened next. But then again, in this character driven novel, it's more who than what.

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