The Night Watch
by Sarah Waters
Riverhead Books. 544 pages, $15 (paper)
IN HER LATEST NOVEL, The Night Watch, Man Booker Prize nominee Sarah Waters explores the experience of same-sex and other “deviant” forms of love in World War II-era London. Opening in 1947, the novel moves backward to 1944 and concludes in 1941. Although she often alludes to the past when recounting the events of 1947, Waters, in reversing the chronology of her narrative, requires her readers to understand the consequences of the past before fully comprehending their causes. Under these circumstances, it’s hard for judgment and blame to interfere with compassion for her characters’ pain.