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Night Waking [Kindle Edition]

Sarah Moss
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £7.99
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Review

'Sarah Moss writes the kind of books that are difficult to put down' --Louise Welch, Financial Times

`Moss writes marvellously (and often hilariously). Alison Pearson for intellectuals' --The Times

'Tartly humorous, sad and clever ... a passionately written meditation on motherhood' --Sunday Times

'fresh and illuminating' --Guardian

`Moss's second novel is set to cement her reputation as one of contemporary fiction's brightest stars'
--Stylist

'Tightly plotted, brilliantly observed ... Sarah Moss writes the kind of books that are difficult to put down' --Louise Welch, Financial Times

`Moss writes marvellously (and often hilariously) about the clash between career and motherhood. Alison Pearson for intellectuals' --The Times

'Moss threads historical research into her fiction in a way that is fresh and illuminating' --Guardian

'An original and accomplished novel' --Daily Mail

`Tartly humorous, sad and clever ... a passionately written meditation on motherhood, with all the monotony and visceral feelings faithfully recorded'
--Sunday Times

Highly enjoyable second novel from Sarah Moss ... The upbeat conclusion to this blend of middle-class satire, historical fiction and campus novel does not soften Moss's withering take on sexism and her stark view of motherhood.
--Telegraph

Product Description

Historian Anna Bennett has a book to write. She also has an insomniac toddler, a precocious, death-obsessed seven-year-old, and a frequently absent ecologist husband who has brought them all to Colsay, a desolate island in the Hebrides, so he can count the puffins. Ferociously sleep-deprived, torn between mothering and her desire for the pleasures of work and solitude, Anna becomes haunted by the discovery of a baby's skeleton in the garden of their house. Her narrative is punctuated by letters home, written 200 years before, by May, a young, middle-class midwife desperately trying to introduce modern medicine to the suspicious, insular islanders. The lives of these two characters intersect unexpectedly in this deeply moving but also at times blackly funny story about maternal ambivalence, the way we try to control children, and about women's vexed and passionate relationship with work. Moss's second novel displays an exciting expansion of her range - showing her to be both an excellent comic writer and a novelist of great emotional depth.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 665 KB
  • Print Length: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Granta Books (3 Feb. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847082157
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847082152
  • ASIN: B007RB6PSG
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #73,583 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
74 of 77 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Night Waking 23 April 2011
By S Riaz HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Anna is an Oxford Academic currently living on the tiny island of Colsay, in the North of Scotland, which her husband Giles has inherited. She has two sons - Raph and Moth - and is attempting to finish the book she is writing, while Giles counts the Puffin population and tries to understand why the numbers are declining. Anna sees herself as a historian and is highly resentful of being a full time mother without help, with little to amuse the children and a husband who has high standards regarding shop brought bread, etc, but who happily disappears all day and leaves her to cope. Her desperation and sleep deprivation is so well written that it will be understood immediately by all mothers of young children, as will Giles offhand manner I suspect! Part of the book takes place during the night, when Anna goes to soothe Moth, who still wakes and cries. Giles feels that taking the toddler into the bed 'sets a precedent' although in order to get some sleep, just about every mother (assuming they can't face controlled crying, which I certainly could not) give in sooner or later. Anna is very hard on herself and feels she is being judged harshly by almost everyone, including herself. The first half of the book establishes the personalities involved and is absolutely brilliant writing - Anna's feminist retellings of various childrens picture books actually had me laughing out loud! I also adored Anna's retelling of the Gruffalo - which mother of a young child cannot recite it word for word?!

Into this very self contained life, the outside world comes intruding, after Anna and Raph dig up a small skeleton while planting trees. The baby has lain, undisturbed, for many years and the police begin to investigate.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well written but.... 10 Sept. 2012
By Suzie
Format:Paperback
This is an accurate portrayal of a young mother shackled to a toddler's constant demands - being woken at 2 am night after night after night, exhaustion, lack of mental stimulus, not being able to get on with your own work, life, etc.

Although while it's happening it is seemingly everlasting, conversations of the type one has with a toddler can become repetitive and rather tedious in the context of a novel. At least, that is how it felt to me for the first part of this story. Admittedly, Moth's demands (strange name until you realise it's short for Timothy) are interspersed with extracts of Anna's text for an academic book she is trying to write. But to me these sounded like an attempt to make the story deeper than it was, weighty rather than trivial. As such they seemed forced and contrived and, in such detail, out of place in a novel. Seven-year-old Raph, meanwhile, is working on various engineering projects with a view to saving the planet, and husband Giles is getting on with his research into puffins.

Finding bones buried in the garden leads Anna to a different aspect of research, and upsets Raph. The back-story of a young English nurse confronted with infant mortality (reminiscent of that prevalent in nineteenth century St Kilda and brought to life in Island of Wings, by Karin Altenberg) is interesting but only briefly touched upon.

Although well written, as one who lives on a Hebridean island I felt no sense of the islands or their people. Anna's character is fully developed though, so you feel as if you know her and suffer with her. Giles, on the other hand, is an empty shell. He hails from a wealthy background, is chauvinistic, shows little sympathy for his wife's exhaustion and for most of the story makes no attempt to help or encourage her.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Close observations, beautifully described 20 July 2014
Format:Paperback
This book is a description of its time, location, class relations through time, and the arcane world of academic politics, though it is more obviously a book about the struggle many mothers of young children experience while trying to hold a sense of themselves in the face of exhaustion and the conflicting needs of two developing, distinct, and very strong personalities.
Anna is a historian and, while she is an Oxford fellow, seems to regard herself as punching above her weight among her upper class, and very judgmental, cohorts. Her husband, an ornithologist, fits more easily into this milieu, something she finds herself resenting. Their retreat to his family’s property on a remote island in Scotland, where he is researching the declining local population of puffins and refurbishing part of the property as a holiday let conflicts with her need of large blocks of time to complete a historical work for publication without library access and only intermittent web access, one child who is obsessed with disasters and ecological disaster, and a toddler who is an insomniac. As an academic, her training has caused her to be as critical of her own actions as she is about those of others. However, this also makes her an acute observer of the situations in which she finds herself. Others have commented that Anna is not a sympathetic character for much of the book, but that is not the point, any more than romance is the sole point of Pride and Prejudice.
This book will ring a lot of bells with mothers of young children, but more especially with women who are also trying to use their own professional accomplishments to inform their place in family and, by extension, in society. The sections dealing with May’s experience as an educated woman trying to work with the islanders during the 19th century show how disastrous the results can be when this balance cannot be accomplished.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Night Waking
When I started to read this I thought "Oh no, one of those families where the children never have any discipline, and the mother would rather be anywhere else but with them". Read more
Published 11 days ago by RinkyDinky
4.0 out of 5 stars A book well worth reading.
In the early stages of reading this book I looked at the reviews of others and was initially influenced by them. Read more
Published 29 days ago by jenny norman
3.0 out of 5 stars night waking
Difficult to relate the various topics until quite late in the book when I then found it difficult to put down.
Published 2 months ago by David
3.0 out of 5 stars Night waking
AN INTERESTING READ. It described the many facets of a modern motherhood and the tensions of choosing between career and family.
Published 3 months ago by mp
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good, honest, funny and quite gripping read for mums
Published 5 months ago by Raven
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping and real.
A fantastic read! Beautifully written - honest, informative, gripping and moving. As a working mother of two sons (now grown-up) I could identify with Anna; so real. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Mrs. Melanie Dove
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A compelling read. I wish she would write some more.
Published 5 months ago by Linda Razzell
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
anyone who has had children will recognise the lovely descriptions of being awake with toddlers
Published 5 months ago by ruth lynch
2.0 out of 5 stars not very interesting at all
I feel out of step with the other reviews here, because I found the book quite dull. Anna, mum of two, and Research Fellow, has gone to live on Colsay, a Scottish island, where... Read more
Published 5 months ago by J. Turner
4.0 out of 5 stars great
great story
Published 6 months ago by dot
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