The precision of historical records and following datelines were amazing. The writer accomplished a feat of fact and fiction keeping it well in balance and also maintaining a point of "Whats gonna happen next".
The Hopkins, what a terror those two were.
The first play
No. This is time taking experience. I believe it would take a solid week to hear all in one sitting
this is part 2. If you do not read Blackout first, you will be totally lost
I listened to Black Out and All Clear back-to-back and found All Clear to be so confusing that I spent 95% of the book going, "huuuh?" It is excessively detailed and very convoluted. It was, however, perfectly put together in the end, but wading through 2 lengthy books to figure out what the H was going on was a bit much. Connie Willis, is a brilliant writer/researcher though and I have loved her writing style despite the confusion.
This book continues the story begun in "Blackout." I couldn't wait to keep listening to find out what happened to the characters and how their problems were resolved. Once again a very engaging plot and characters, with amazing attention to historical details, in a way that brings the era to life.
I ended up completely immersed in this book, despite at times being annoyed by its faults. Most of the criticisms others have made of this book are at least partially accurate and yet it manages to be a wonderful experience. Katherine Kellgren is a very accomplished narrator, and although once in a while her pronunciations were a little disconcerting, she differentiates the characters very well and her voice is lovely to listen to. This book has given me many happy hours.
A satisfying, surprising and romantic conclusion to Blackout. An interesting blend of the intriguing concept of time travel, and well researched historical fiction.
Connie Willis is a conceited author. In the Old English sense of "conceit" -- a clever construction. Willis's conceit is to write about "historians" -- time-travelers from the 2060s who go back in time to observe "ordinary people". Her Doomsday Book, about a village during the Black Plague, was one of the most riveting evocations of human emotion I have ever read.
This time, Willis's "historians" are covering World War II in England.Their observations of ordinary people are of course an excuse for Willis to dress a fascinating parade of characters, dozens of them, all bound up in the everyday heroism of enduring a war: the evacuation at Dunkirk, the children's' evacuation from London, the Battle of Britain, the Blitz, the V1s and V2s, ...
Of course, the "historians" get caught up in the movement, and do heroic things themselves. Which should be impossible, because "the theory of time" forbids any time-traveler's meddling with the past. So... is there something wrong with time itself? Willis's characters must battle the Germans while they battle against the fabric of time itself!
These two books are in fact a single work, so you must read them in order. But DO read them! They are excellent!
... and then we must wait another ten years for Willis's next work... :-((((
So in my review of Blackout I mentioned I might come back to this book someday just to see how it all ends. Even though I was not impressed with Blackout, and pretty much equally unimpressed with All Clear for the same reasons, there is a good story in here. It???s just needlessly too long and drawn out. It???s like the author committed to a 20+ hour novel and had to fill the gaps with meaningless, boring, repetitious dialogue to achieve her goal. I think the narrator was even getting bored. It was a bit confusing at times as well. I had to rewind on many occasions to try and figure out what was going on. If you condense it all down it???s a very good story with interesting characters. The two kids in the story, who were a bit annoying at first, had me laughing out loud at times. I enjoyed the behind the scenes perspective this books gives of the war. The ending was a bit of a disappointment other than in finally ended. I can???t really recommend these two books, and yes unfortunately you need to read them both, unless you have credits to burn, have a lot of time on your hands, or enjoy Chinese water torture.
Connie Willis writes books that really get to me. Others have complained about "Black Out" and "All Clear" for being so long and for being repetitive. While there may be something to this, I just can't shake the feel and emotional context of the story. "Passage" was the same way--as was "Doomsday Book." Most books you listen to (or read) put them away and forget about them. Connie Willis's novels haunt you long after you reshelved them.
A beautifully written and narrated book, with so many characters that I won't soon forget. I wasn't there but the descriptions of the events and the people of Britain during WWII made me feel like I was there, or wish I had been. A little time travel, anyone? Some have complained that the two books, Black Out being the other, were over long. I disagree. The time used in the development and growth of the characters and their many parallel stories added so much to the atmosphere of the story and to the gradual rise in tension and wonderful conclusion.
Writer, Reader, Former Bookseller (RIP Borders)
I loved Doomsday Book. Loved it. One of my favorite books of all time.
I enjoyed Black Out.. mostly. Until it abruptly ended halfway through the story line (about the time I started getting bored) and told me to "tune in next week". So I did. Silly me.
All clear was boring from the first line until the point about four hours in when I said "enough!".
The characters are petty, unbelievable, and one dimensional. Their silly daily dramas aren't interesting enough to engage a sewing circle, and the main characters behave like school children. Their dilemmas and schemes are recycled over and over and over-- like from all the back in Doomsday Book. (How many drops have been obliterated or just misplaced... really?) And then they went on and on and on and on, and around and around and around....
The random second chapter where we skip to the end goes beyond foreshadowing to just plain spoiler, and was really just thrown in all slapdash like it was a horrible printing error that just stuck the end in the beginning.
The mythology fell off the rails back in Blackout and is only getting further into the mud in All Clear, in Doomsday, it worked b/c the mythology wasn't the point of the story. But in Blackout/All Clear it has become integral to the story, and now all of its unexplained, unrealistic, quasi-magical, dysfunctional quirks are in the spotlight.
Overall, it had less depth and attention to detail than a piece of flash fiction. Essentially, its an amazing historical account of an often glossed over experience, with some really annoying characters with no direction and even less of a clue getting in the way. Willis is typically a great writer, it just seems like she didn't care this time around, or got lost in research.
Sorry to Alf and Binny, they were the only ones I liked in the end, and would have liked to see what became of them.