Together in Spirit

An online reading group ('TIS a reading group!) to bring together friends, and friends of friends, who aren't able to be in a conventional reading group due to constraints of time or geography.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Night Watch

Thanks for choosing this, Valerie. The critics went wild over it, didn't they, and I wondered what all the fuss was about. I'm very glad to have been thus spurred into investigating, since by myself I wouldn't necessarily have got round to it.

That said, I haven't read it all and won't continue to do so. I thought it well done for what it is - pacy, atmospheric and with a fresh slant - but it didn't make me want to read it all. The tone was somehow a little repetitive and seemed to skate over the top of things a bit. I can't express easily what I mean, but it didn't get under my skin or bring me up short as I read or catch me with its language or encapsulate characters with just a few words in the way my favourite literature does. I read a lovely quote from a Guy de Maupassant story in an article recently: "He was a gentleman with red whiskers who always went first through a doorway". Ford Maddox Ford commented: "that gentleman is so sufficiently got in that you need no more of him to understand how he will act. He has been 'got in' and can get to work at once".

I could have read it - it is by no means unreadable! - but with time short I'm having to be ruthless. But I am so glad to have given it a go and will be interested to see what the rest of you think.