The Night Watch (Waters novel)

The Night Watch is a dark, 2006 historical fiction novel by Sarah Waters. It was shortlisted for the 2006 Man Booker Prize and shortlisted for the 2006 Orange Prize. The novel, which is told backward through third person narrative, takes place in 1940s London during and after World War II. The storyline follows the fragmented lives and the strange interconnections between Kay, Helen and Julia, three lesbians, Viv, a straight woman and Duncan, her brother, whose sexuality is ambiguous- their secrets, shames and scandals. The war, with its never ending night watches serves as a horrifying context, backdrop and metaphor as a constant reminder of the morbidity that surrounds life and love.


The novel begins with Kay Langrish-a woman broken by the war. She spends her days locked in her room in London, watching her landlord's patients arrive and leave at precisely the same hours every day. The only human contact that Kay is seen to be having at this stage in the narrative is with another lesbian, Mickey. Kay is suggested to be wealthy by her residence in Lavender Hill. One night, while waiting for the cinema doors to open, Viv, a woman from her past appears and hands to her a gold ring.


Helen and her assistant Viv run a match-making agency near Bond Street for individuals who have either lost their loved one or were disappointed to see how much their sweethearts had changed after the war. The work itself is not very fulfilling, but their hesitant friendship keeps them entertained.


This page was last edited on 15 May 2018, at 17:23.
Reference: under CC BY-SA license.

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