The Watch, by Joydeep Roy-Bhattacharya

The Watch is a powerful and moving story.  Based on the greek play, Antigones, it is updated and set in present day Afghanistan.  

The story is told and retold from multiple perspectives, overlapping both in time and in vantage point.  The novel takes a story that starts out two-dimensionally and builds it into a three-dimensional image with each character’s perspective.  Layer upon layer is added brilliantly to the narrative.  It captures the intensity, confusion and conflict both internally and externally.  The characters are real and have great depth.  Aside from a sometimes unusual familiarity with greek literature, they feel very real.  They are extraordinary in their ordinariness.  

One of the areas where the author excels is in displaying how different actions may be interpreted depending on the perspective from which you view them.  Actions, and the intentions behind them, can be interpreted or misinterpreted..

I am a big fan of multiple first-person perspective and the author uses it to great effect here.  The way the story unfolds requires you to continually examine and reexamine what you thought you knew.  You walk in the steps of each of these characters, you live in their minds.  Roy-Bhattacharya powerfully evokes the emotional state of each character to create an incredibly moving work.  This is a novel that pulls you in and makes you feel you are standing alongside the characters.  The action pieces spring on you with a suddenness that makes it all the more stunning and powerful.  

This is a beautiful and heartfelt work, reminiscent of Slaughterhouse Five.  It is intense and will resonate long after you put it down.  

I was fortunate to receive an advance copy of this book.  Highly recommended.

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