Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Review: The Watch That Ends the Night

The Watch That Ends the Night: Voices from the Titanic
by Allan Wolf

Book Description:
Arrogance and innocence, hubris and hope--twenty-four haunting voices of the Titanic tragedy, as well as the iceberg itself, are evoked in a stunning tour de force.Millionaire John Jacob Astor hopes to bring home his pregnant teen bride with a minimum of media scandal. A beautiful Lebanese refugee, on her way to family in Florida, discovers the first stirrings of love. And an ancient iceberg glides south, anticipating its fateful encounter. The voices in this remarkable re-creation of the Titanic disaster span classes and stations, from Margaret ("the unsinkable Molly") Brown to the captain who went down with his ship; from the lookout and wireless men to a young boy in search of dragons and a gambler in search of marks. Slipping in telegraphs, undertaker's reports, and other records, poet Allan Wolf offers a breathtaking, intimate glimpse at the lives behind the tragedy, told with clear-eyed compassion and astounding emotional power.

This is a haunting and beautiful piece of historical fiction. The way that Wolf pieced together historical information about the Titanic is A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. The inclusion of actual telegraphs, testimonies from survivors, and reports from the coroners make it all so very hauntingly real. Wolf made it feel seamless when he'd transition from the real historical information to the fiction that he created.

The poetry format also worked really well. Especially for voices like the iceberg. It felt ancient and unfeeling. Chilling. I also want to add that the audio version of this book is phenomenal. The actors that alternate the parts do fantastic accents and ply each part with just the perfect amounts of emotion. SOOOO good.

Even if you're not a huge non-fiction type reader (like me, I usually avoid anything like non-fiction at all costs!), this historical fiction will suck you right in and you will find yourself internalizing tons of facts that you never knew about the Titanic.

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