Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Night Watch

I'm too tired this week to think of a decent blog title soooo we're just going to stick with the book title.  But that doesn't mean I didn't thoroughly enjoy re-reading Sarah Waters' The Night Watch.  This book holds a special place in my heart because it was the very first lesbian book I ever read.  I purchased this book when I was in college not ever having heard of Sarah Waters and not having any idea that she primarily wrote books with lesbian content.  Honestly this book sort of helped me realize that I was in fact probably gay.  I read this book when I was nineteen and starting to realize that I was maybe attracted to girls.  I wasn't ready to admit to myself yet that I was a lesbian but I knew something was up and when I started reading this book (not knowing it was about lesbians) I couldn't get enough of the scenes with Helen and Julia.  This was my first literary exposure to such blatant female homosexuality and it helped me start to feel like it was ok to be this way.

Regardless of the sentimentality this book holds for me, it really is a good book.  Waters moves backward in time during WWII London from 1945-1941 chronicling five different characters and how their lives intertwine.   Three of the five characters are lesbians, but what's great about this book is that it has a really strong story without it being just a book about lesbians.  I actually have strong feelings about the characters in this book, both good and bad.  There is one girl in particular, Kay, who if she were a real person, I would have a major crush on.  (Disclaimer: I don't feel guilty even though I'm in a relationship because 1. She's not a real person. and 2. Most of the qualities that attract me to Kay are also qualities that initially drew me to my real life girlfriend.)

I really don't have anything bad to say about this book.  I did have a little bit of a difficult time reading some passages because Kay is an ambulance driver and some of the calls she goes on are described in great detail.  But the rest of the book more than makes up for it.  It's both uplifting and completely heartbreaking at different times.  The book kind of jumps around from character to character and every time the story line changed I would be disappointed to leave that character, but only for a second because then I would remember how much I loved the next character's story that she was beginning to tell.  It's one of those books that you really get attached to and find yourself missing once you've finished reading it.  Two thumbs up Sarah Waters.

Quick Facts
Pages: 544 But they go by fast, I promise.
Most quotable passage: "Never mind if the girl's not queer; apparently I'm so irresistible that if she's not a raving lesbian when she sits down with me for a gin and French, she will be when she stands up again!"
Sexiness Factor (1-10): 7 A minor point deduction for a hetero sex scene
Buy It or Borrow It: Buy it. 

No comments:

Post a Comment