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Wake: A Novel Hardcover – February 11, 2014


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Random House (February 11, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812995139
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812995138
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (95 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #268,975 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Wake is skillfully written from the outset, though the initial premise doesn’t feel especially groundbreaking: in post-WWI London, three ordinary women cope with their stagnant lives. Hettie partners single men at a Hammersmith dance hall to support her mother and shell-shocked brother, upper-class Evelyn works as a pension clerk while mourning her lover, and Ada can’t move past her soldier son’s death. Hope then proceeds to color in their personal histories, revealing the distinctiveness of each character and situation over five days, during the lead-up to the unveiling of the Unknown Warrior’s tomb in Westminster Abbey. As their circumstances change and new people enter their lives, the women are spurred to action. Likewise, as these characters’ stories and others’ are intermixed, readers will be flipping pages to discover their tragic connection. The background details are vivid, from a crowded West End jazz club to the trenches of northern France, both in 1920 and earlier. This increasingly riveting novel about war’s futility, grief, remembrance, and renewal is a solid effort timed just right for the WWI centenary. --Sarah Johnson

Review

“Hope’s unblinking prose is reminiscent of Vera Brittain’s classic memoir Testament of Youth in its depiction of the social and emotional fallout, particularly on women, of the Great War. . . . Hope reaches beyond the higher echelons of society to women of different social classes, all linked by their reluctance to bid goodbye to the world the conflict has shattered.”The New York Times Book Review

Wake is a tender and timely novel, full of compassion and quiet insight. The author gives us a moving and original glimpse into the haunted peace after the Great War, her characters drawn by the gravity of the unmarked, the unknown, and perhaps, finally, the unhoped for.”—Chris Cleave, author of Little Bee
 
Wake is a compelling and emotionally charged debut about the painful aftermath of war and the ways—small, brave, or commonplace—in which we keep ourselves going. It touches feelings we know, and settings—dance halls, war fronts, queues outside the grocer’s—that we don’t. I loved it.”—Rachel Joyce, author of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
 
Wake is powerful and humane, a novel that charms and beguiles. Anna Hope’s characters are so real, flawed, and searching, and her prose so natural, one almost forgets how very great a story she is telling.”—Sadie Jones, author of The Uninvited Guests
 
“Using telling detail, Hope creates a vibrant physical and emotional landscape in which her leading characters, and a sea of others, move irresistibly into the future, some having found resolution, others still in search. Fresh, confident, yet understated, Hope’s first work movingly revisits immense tragedy while also confirming her own highly promising ability.”Kirkus Reviews

Customer Reviews

The end just leaves you hanging, it doesn't wrap all the characters.
Margaret Van Huben
Anna Hope's writing is lovely and evokes such powerful emotions from the characters whose lives of quiet desperation in the wake of World War I pricked my soul.
Utah Mom
The characters are not that well developed as a result, making the story less compelling than it could have been.
Topolino

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Erin Davies on February 15, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
I wont lie, when I finished Anna Hope's Wake, I was just happy to be done with it. The frequent shifts between characters and the emotional drama of their individual stories left me mentally exhausted. In point of fact I set my review aside, determined to clear my head before trying to compose my thoughts because I was so put out with my reading. Thing is, the longer I let it sit, the more I seemed to appreciate it.

On the surface Hope is depicting a trio of women and the complex web that ties them together, but beneath that is some really interesting concept material and I think this underlying thesis is what makes the book. Think Ian McEwan's Atonement without the hit you like a ton of bricks final revelation. Hope is a more subtle storyteller, but no less thought-provoking.

I maintain this is a difficult novel to get into. It is not character driven and there is really no action to propel the story along, but that being said, once you have a chance to really process the story Hope is telling, you realize how powerfully poignant a novel it is.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By brian d foy VINE VOICE on February 11, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Wake takes place a year after the end of the Great War and uses as its center the creation of the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior. The fictional characters surrounding this event intersect in various ways, but most of the book is devoted to hiding and delaying these things, even maddeningly so. I never found a reason to connect to the characters. Despite that, the various vignettes about the divide between the civilians and the returning soldiers were quite interesting.

The writing is a bit tricky and reuses and overuses the same techniques to the point that I paid more attention to the sentences than the story.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Liz Wilkins on January 16, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Thank you kindly to the author and publisher for the unexpected pleasure of a copy of this book in the post.

Wake: 1) Emerge or cause to emerge from sleep 2) Ritual for the dead 3) Consequence or aftermath.

The lives of three women are braided together, their stories gathering tremendous power as the ties that bind them become clear, and the body of the unknown soldier moves closer and closer to its final resting place.

Right well the first thing to say is I read this book in 4 hours – I started it on Saturday morning and by lunchtime I was done, such was the power of this novel – it wasnt that I couldnt put it down it was more that I didnt even consider doing so…

This is subtle, compelling and heart wrenching storytelling and I am not going to give much away – suffice to say this is a story of the life changing effects of war – we follow three women over five days against the backdrop of the effects of WW1 and the journey home of the unknown soldier. It is at turns addictive, fascinating, wonderful and emotional and will draw you in slowly but surely until you feel you are right alongside the characters.

Until lately I have never read much historical fiction – at the moment I am discovering some wonderful examples of this and wonder to myself why I have ignored it in the past. This book as much as any other has told me that I need to find more of it, although its doubtful that any other (with the possible exception of the one I’m reading right now) will touch my heart in the way that this one did.

Storytelling art. A canvass in words. Beautifully written and exceptionally absorbing. I am undone.

Happy Reading Folks!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Roger Brunyate TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 31, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
One of the aspects of this impressive debut by Anna Hope that makes me raise my hat is the effectiveness with which she handles its secondary thread. In italics interspersing the main story a page or two at a time, are little vignettes as British officials exhume the body of an unidentified soldier from the battlefields of Northern France, prepare it for a new coffin, and take it with due solemnity to its final resting place in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Westminster Abbey. The vignettes, and the story that they enfold, span a five-day period leading up to November 11, 1920, the second anniversary of the Armistice. The First World War is over, but what has become of the survivors?

Each of the vignettes contains an anonymous figure -- from a soldier assisting with the disinterment to a war widow bringing her child to watch the procession -- real and dimensioned enough for the reader to feel for them, even as the camera moves on. They are emblems of countless stories that might be developed in their millions all over the country, although Hope has chosen to focus on only three. Three women, all coping with loss, all seeking a way to move forward. There is Hettie, a dance hostess at the Hammersmith Palais, whose brother has returned sound in body but damaged in his mind; she is looking for her life to begin, but the normal patterns have all been disrupted. There is Ada, a mother in her forties, the loss of whose son Michael has caused an estrangement between her and her husband. Unlike other parents, they have no information about their son's resting place; is it possible the Unknown Soldier might be Michael himself?
Read more ›
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