More review page lines devoted to this book than it is humanly possible to read and there can be little doubt that Sarah Waters has written a fantastic book in The Night Watch and one that looks at the war from a very different and fascinating perspective.
Ordinary people's lives turned inside out by a war that changed everything while it lasted and for long afterwards.We rarely read details about the very grim side to WW II city bombing but we are spared none of the detail in The Night Watch and that gives the book a unique authenticity.
I grew up in the 1950's and find hard to appreciate now how recent the war had been, generalisations were frequent but nothing specific about how utterly dreadful it must have been to live through the Blitz.
Beautifully and seamlessly written as it moves unusually backwards in time, I was frequently reminded of Vere Hodgson's Few Eggs and No Oranges, a wartime diary that I read a few years ago and remarkable for its depiction of the realities of life in London.I was delighted to see that this along with a myriad of other fascinating books had been used in the research.
But I'm not sure this will make the shortlist.There are quite a few of these "tell it like it really was/is" books on the longlist and surely only a couple of places for them on the shortlist if it is to range across the spectrum.I'm going to be having huge arguments with myself here as a solo judging panel when I come to make my final decision.Perhaps Bluestalking >>>> and I will compile a list between us, can you hear me Chicago? What say you?
Incidentally it makes for interesting reading to compare Vere Hodgson's diary account of the war with Vera Brittain's diary of exactly the same period. There is one particular day when Vere is clearing up the rubble yet again and Vera Brittain is having lunch at the Savoy (or was it the Ritz?)
PS The Tinker tells a lovely tale of walking home to his parents via Balham to Tooting on leave from his ship.Air raids all around and a freezing cold night. He finally arrived in the early hours to find no Anderson shelter in the garden,gone, disappeared.My grandfather had uprooted the whole thing and moved it into the sitting room with the door opening right onto a coal fire roaring in the fireplace, they were all as warm as toast in there.If they were going to die they would at least die warm was the theory.