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Night Watch

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Digital (deliver electronic) / ISBN-13: 9780349727783

Price: £22

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‘Breathtaking in both its scope and intensity’ TAYARI JONES

‘Shatteringly particular and audaciously universal’ ALICE RANDALL

‘Gorgeous prose, attention to detail and masterful characters. Haunting storytelling and a refreshing look at history’ KIRKUS, STARRED REVIEW

From one of our most accomplished novelists, a mesmerizing story about a mother and daughter seeking refuge in a mental asylum in the chaotic aftermath of the Civil War.

In 1874, in the wake of the war, trauma haunts civilians and veterans, renegades and wanderers, freedmen and runaways. Twelve-year-old ConaLee and her mother, Eliza, who hasn’t spoken in more than a year, arrive at the Trans-Allegh­eny Lunatic Asylum in West Virginia, delivered to the hospital’s entrance by a war vet­eran who has forced himself into their lives. There, far from family, a beloved neighbour, and the mountain home they knew, they try to reclaim their lives.

The twin horrors of war and race rise to the surface as we learn their history: their flight to the highest mountain ridges of western Virginia; the disappearance of ConaLee’s father, who left for the war and never returned. Meanwhile in the asylum, they begin to find a new path. ConaLee pretends to be her mother’s maid; Eliza responds slowly to treatment. They get swept up in the life of the facility – the mystery behind the man they call the Night Watch; the child called Weed; the fearsome woman who runs the kitchen; the remarkable doctor at the head of the institution.

Epic, enthralling and meticulously crafted, Night Watch is a brilliant portrait of family endurance against all odds and a stunning chronicle of surviving war and its aftermath.

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Jayne Anne Phillips is a brilliant artist working at the height of her powers. Word by word, and line by line, there is no one better. This novel lives where a startling imagination meets scrupulous research: Night Watch is a tour de force - breathtaking in both its scope and intensity
Tayari Jones, author of AN AMERICAN MARRIAGE
A profound meditation on identity, empathy, sanity, daughter-love, nature, and the Civil War, Night Watch will leave you shook and sustained. This novel delivers fictional reckoning that makes way for the potential of real-world reconciliation by delivering complex and necessary testimony and confession. Weaving photographs and fragments of non-fiction prose into an intimate family story, Night Watch is at once shatteringly particular and audaciously universal. Jayne Anne Phillips arrives at the crowning achievement of an extraordinary career
Alice Randall, author of BLACK BOTTOM SAINTS
Jayne Anne Phillips is a wonderfully gifted storyteller, and few contemporary writers can match the lyricism of her prose, but in this marvelous new novel, largely set in a factual nineteenth-century asylum, she achieves even more: history and imagination merge, and she gives the past a living pulse
Ron Rash, author of THE CARETAKER
There is a luminous beauty in Phillips's prose. Whether it is the dark interiors of war - which have become her forte - or the equally complex and fraught lives of so-called 'ordinary' people, Phillips brings these theaters of peace and loss, death and transcendence together with a remarkable alchemy
Ken Burns, filmmaker
A lovely piece of work . . . Night Watch is another of Jayne Anne Phillips's intimate revelatory creations
Dorothy Allison, author of BASTARD OUT OF CAROLINA
A searing portrait of the cruelties of race, the insanity of war, and the tragedy of its aftermath
It's hard to know what to praise first - Jayne Anne Phillips' signature beautiful sentences, the compelling scenes of battle and their ravaged aftermath, the fascinating portrayal of Dr Thomas Story Kirkbride's 'moral treatment' method for the mentally ill, or the vivid depiction of the people and land of West Virginia in the 1860s and 70s. Night Watch takes a highly deserved place among important novels about war and its legacy
Alice Elliot Dark, author of FELLOWSHIP POINT
Expect coincidences and convolutions . . . Phillips pulls them off with gorgeous prose, attention to detail, and masterful characters. Haunting storytelling and a refreshing look at history
A superb meditation on broken families in post-Civil War West Virginia . . . The bruised and turbulent postbellum era comes alive in Phillips's page-turning affair
Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW