Wake: A Novel by Anna Hope

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Publisher: Random House
Publishing Date: 11 February 2014
Genre: Historical Fiction ,War
ISBN: 0812995147
Goodreads: 4.00
Rating: ★★★★★

Wow, that was the first word that came to my mind the moment I was done with Wake, I know it is not the most elaborate or eloquent of words in the descriptive sense, but suffice to put in one word my thoughts about this book.

Over the course of five days, the lives of 3 women are unraveled in this beautiful book. Ada – a grieving mother, Evelyn – a woman who finds herself embittered and Hettie, who finds her life desolated. Each and every one of them has suffered the loss of a loved one, someone whose death has somehow put their life in a limbo.

Plato once said, “Only the dead have seen the end of war.” – nothing, no other words I suppose, can define the scenario of Wake more appropriately.At the start of the novel, we find ourselves on the 7th of November, 1920 in London, the city looking forward to celebrate the second anniversary of the upcoming Armistice Day amidst the huge preparations going on to commemorate the occasion by the British Monarchy, with the public burial of an unknown soldier.

The war may have been over and won, but its effects still linger on.  Ava cannot yet come to terms with the loss of her son, whose death was confirmed but his body never found. Hettie finds herself growing disillusioned with her life as she hates being held back while she has to support half the expenses of her family, when all her brother Fred ever does is roam around aimlessly and feed off of her hard work. Evelyn isn’t doing any better, she is fast approaching thirty and is single, with no hopes in sight at any relationship in the near future.

There is no solace  found for any of them, and so they live on from one day to the next, hoping against hope that there will be a change and yet oddly they are trapped in their grief and anger. Anger at the way their life is turning out  and the war which promised glory and so much more, when the result was anything but the hoped outcome. For the dead are already gone and the living, they have no reason to celebrate anything, not in reality when the so-called victory has come at a price, a price so dear that it has made a permanent dent in their lives.  Even those who made it back, cannot find the will to see the brighter side of the end of this war, when it has permanently scarred them in ways beyond words. There are those who carry the physical wounds and reminders of their time, during the war and then there are those who are emotionally just as scarred for life.

There are a few times in my life, when I have found myself at an utter loss for words and I think, this is one of them. I honestly cannot surmise the beauty of this novel, I just don’t have the words. And boy do I wish I was some virtuoso who could do justice to this beautiful, beautiful book. Alas, I am just a reader, and hence can only say in the plainest terms, that Wake is one of the most moving books I have read and it definitely will secure a spot in my top ten reads of 2014.

Miss Hope take a bow, and I hope to read something new from you again, pretty soon.

I was provided an advance readers copy for reviewing courtesy of Random House and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review of the book. This review is in no way influenced.

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