If you like backdrops of tough, old timey England, and you like strong female characters with pluck, then read this book. You'll get all that and more with Fingersmith. This story pulled me in like a bedtime story for grown-ups. I felt I was on an magical ride with the heroine, caring about her ups and downs, and wishing it all lasted longer.
I liked Fingersmith, loved The Little Stranger, and hoped for a lot more from The Night Watch. I see that Sarah Walters wrote this novel with 3 goals... goals which she does indeed accomplish, but none of which are too concerned with plot: 1) Portraying daily life in WW2 London with surprising and interesting detail 2) Gay storylines 3) Diving deeply into her characters lives... even the most colorless details. There really was very little plot. If you fall in love with her characters, you may love the book. I liked the characters, but I was bored a lot and needed more. There was one scene I liked because it was concerned with human nature and personal awareness... it's where an older, wiser character schools a younger character regarding "the cinema"... I wanted more like that. I also wanted a plot, and I would have loved a thoughtful surprise like the answer behind The Little Stranger.
I enjoyed the protagonist's gloomy imperfection, his thought process, his worries, and the quirky details of his old-timey medical practice. I loved that one of the female characters is homely, and how her homeliness was experienced by the protagonist. However it was the mystery of the house.. the reason behind the bizarre goings-on that make this book outstanding. The author's inspired idea for this, and her unhurried reveal made me want to stand up and clap.
Stephen King is a craftsman with a beautiful literary voice. His words flow casually and perfectly, and culminate in so many brilliant phrasings... it's like he's nonchalantly tossing pearls in the air! I have been talking about his skill with friends, and I have been told that IT is one of his best works. I recommend IT strongly, especially since the reader, Stephen Weber, is also outstanding. Weber has an impressive vocal range, and he has the instinct and talent of a performer.... bringing an energetic cadence to sentences that you know others would read flatly. I think listening to Weber read brought more to the novel than my own mind would have, had I read it myself.
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