We have updated our Privacy Policy Please take a moment to review it. By continuing to use this site, you agree to the terms of our updated Privacy Policy.

The Night Watch

Nibbies, 2007

Paperback / ISBN-13: 9781844082414

Price: £10.99

Disclosure: If you buy products using the retailer buttons above, we may earn a commission from the retailers you visit.

Shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction
Shortlisted for the Orange Prize and the Booker Prize

‘Brilliantly done . . . the period detail never overwhelms the simple, passionate human story. It’s a tour-de-force of hints, clues and dropped threads’ Suzi Feay, Independent on Sunday

Moving back through the 1940s, through air raids, blacked out streets, illicit liaisons, sexual adventure, to end with its beginning in 1941, The Night Watch is the work of a truly brilliant and compelling storyteller.
This is the story of four Londoners – three women and a young man with a past, drawn with absolute truth and intimacy. Kay, who drove an ambulance during the war and lived life at full throttle, now dresses in mannish clothes and wanders the streets with a restless hunger, searching . . . Helen, clever, sweet, much-loved, harbours a painful secret . . . Viv, glamour girl, is stubbornly, even foolishly loyal, to her soldier lover . . . Duncan, an apparent innocent, has had his own demons to fight during the war. Their lives, and their secrets connect in sometimes startling ways. War leads to strange alliances . . .

Tender, tragic and beautifully poignant, set against the backdrop of feats of heroism both epic and ordinary, here is a novel of relationships that offers up subtle surprises and twists. The Night Watch is thrilling. A towering achievement.

Reviews

The twist in The Night Watch is Waters' accomplished structure . . . Waters is an all-rounder, and this novel shows off her talents beautifully
Lucy Beresford, Literary Review
A truthful, lovely book that needs no conjuring tricks to make you want to read it again
Philip Hensher, Observer
Masterful
Seattle Times
She produces terrific narrative tension, whether in a mad ambulance ride through the bombs or in loving someone other than the one you're with
Daily Mail
Waters has the gift of story, the ability to dissolve the distance between reader and subject until nothing but experience remains
Los Angeles Times
Waters' "bomb story" does not at all read like a piece of period fiction. It reads as utterly new and fresh and urgent, both in what it says and the way it says it. It's a work of great beauty and authority and sympathetic imagination
Jenny Turner, London Review of Books
A triumph... the topsy-turvy time scheme is an elegant and profound device which imbues much of the novel with a poignant dramatic irony and turns every incident, however humdrum, into a revelation that helps to illuminate how her characters became the people they are... [a] finely nuanced, wise and generous novel... Waters is an author to cherish, and this is probably her finest achievement yet
Justine Jordan, Guardian
Lives come together, intertwine and unravel like a kind of war-effort knitting . . . On reaching the end of the novel, it is impossible not to start anxiously again at the beginning. But this neither helps nor comforts. The Night Watch stays bleakly in the mind long after its re-reading, underlining the growing authority of its author
Carol Ann Duffy, Daily Telegraph
The trick, as her fans have realised, is to relax, to let yourself be caught up in the current of her story and bob along breathless to the end
Mary Wakefield, Sunday Telegraph
Waters takes us back in time, gradually sifting through these lives like an archaeologist on a dig trying to reconstruct the past. It's a clever device, efficiently accomplished, intriguing the reader so that you find yourself turning the pages as if in a thriller, your mind racing to solve the puzzles that Waters has devised
Kate Chisholm, Spectator
Flawless... A sophisticated, beautifully written novel
Washington Post
Steeped in pungent, evocative detail and littered with sad little emotional truths, it's also impossible to put down
Claire Allfree, Metro
This outstandingly gifted novelist releases her imagination into her most compelling depiction yet
Peter Kemp, Sunday Times
Beautifully written, deeply moving and utterly engrossing
Elle
A wonderful novel... Waters is almost Dickensian in her wealth of description and depth of character
Chicago Tribune
The Night Watch leaves you with the sense of having read something rich and complex pared down with consummate skill by a first-class storyteller into a series of deceptively simple tales of love. Which is a fancy way of saying that Sarah Waters' latest offering lingers on, long after the final page and its first, most fateful meeting
Melanie McGrath, Evening Standard
Compelling... sexually and psychologically provocative
USA Today
Brilliantly done... the period detail never overwhelms the simple, passionate human story. It's a tour-de-force of hints, clues and dropped threads
Suzi Feay, Independent on Sunday
A natural storyteller, Waters also has the most extraordinary ear, the writerly equivalent of perfect pitch
Time Out
Four years after Fingersmith, Sarah Waters exchanges rustling petticoats for ration books in a slow-burning, masterly saga of the second world war
Guardian
Sharply and compassionately observed, richly coloured and compelling to read
Independent
Compelling... A writer whose talent for charting social and political intricacies is matched by her delicate feel for the nuances of erotic attachment... Waters's attention to detail is impressive, particularly when she's conveying the atmosphere of wartime London
New York Times
A beautifully crafted novel. Full of subtle twists, this tender tale will delight Waters' many existing fans, while winning her a whole raft of new ones
Lianne Kolirin, Express
Burns with a slow but scorching intensity... Sarah Waters is a great writer
Mark Bostridge, Independent on Sunday
There is much to give any reader pure pleasure. The text is saturated in period detail: the ration books, the wireless, the black out, the ARPs, silk pyjamas, Max Factor inches thick, Bakelite light-bulb holders, wartime bureaucracy and typist pools. The dialogue is terrific
Patricia Duncker, New Statesman