The Night Watch by Sarah Waters
I hate to admit it, readers, but I was bored by this book.
And I was so surprised to be bored! Fingersmith and Tipping the Velvet kept me enthralled the whole way through, so I kept reading this book, thinking it was going to get more interesting. The characters, who all seem to be part of an interconnected social web in WWII-era London, showed promise.
Duncan the ex-con intrigued me — why was he in jail? Vivien intrigued me — why was she with this married man who didn’t seem to like her all that much? And who was Kay, who dressed like a man, and why was she alone and miserable?
The answers to these questions, though, seemed overly simple and even a little predictable. Without the frank, lovable heroine Tipping the Velvet had and without a complex narrative like Fingersmith, The Night Watch fell short for me. I didn’t really connect with any of the characters, and despite much bombing of London and many torrid affairs, I still felt as though Waters was, for lack of a better term, phoning it in.
That being said, I still think Waters is a fantastic writer. Anyone who can write something like Fingersmith cannot be written off on the sole basis of one book I didn’t enjoy. And it’s possible Waters was trying to do something that I just didn’t get; sometimes I’m just a very obtuse reader, and I may have missed something. I’ll still read The Little Stranger, and I’m sure it will be delightful.
The Night Watch is maybe a book worth borrowing — but, sadly, I’d save your money and purchase Fingersmith if you’re set on owning a Waters book.