Communicator (communicator) wrote,
Communicator
communicator

The Night Watch

I finished The Night Watch, which is set in three years: 1947, 1944, 1941, in that order. I thought it started a little slow, but the 1944 section was very vivid and intense. Many references and events in the 1947 section only gained full significance as you read the 1944 section. This meant that you got a lot of depth from these later chapters, perhaps at the expense of a certain lack of depth earlier on. I found the first section a bit frustrating (but then, perhaps that was because I was ill that week). The final, 1941, section was short and poignant.

The quality of the writing was very good, I thought, in particular the lyrical descriptions of austere intensity.

The reader, someone I don't know called Juanita McMahon, brought out the many diverse characters very well. I'm always impressed by the quality of voice work in these audio novels. She was able to indicate someone's position in the rigid British class system of those days, and how each person's voice in itself determined how other people would react to them. She rendered male voices well - not as caricatures, but as somewhat hoarse gravelly speech. Also, the butching up of voice that some of the lesbian characters used, and sometimes hid or flaunted according to who they were talking to. A lot of subtle stuff around voice, which is unique to the audio performance. I know I wouldn't have 'read' the story in my head with that much nuance of language.

Next I'm thinking I might listen to 'Matter' the new Iain M Banks.
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