Quotes from The Night Watch

Sarah Waters ·  528 pages

Rating: (19.8K votes)


“Why is it we can never love the people we ought to?”
― Sarah Waters, quote from The Night Watch


“She supposed that houses, after all - like the lives that were lived in them - were mostly made of space. It was the spaces, in fact, which counted, rather than the bricks.”
― Sarah Waters, quote from The Night Watch


“life is crap but, every day is an experience”
― Sarah Waters, quote from The Night Watch


“Helen opened her eyes and gazed into the luminous blue of the sky. Was it crazy, she wondered, to be as grateful as she felt now, for moments like this, in a world that had atomic bombs in it—and concentration camps, and gas chambers? People were still tearing each other into pieces. There was still murder, starvation, unrest, in Poland, Palestine, India—God knew where else. Britain itself was sliding into bankruptcy and decay. Was it a kind of idiocy or selfishness, to want to be able to give yourself over to the trifles: to the parp of the Regent’s Park Band; to the sun on your face, the prickle of grass beneath your heels, the movement of cloudy beer in your veins, the secret closeness of your lover? Or were those trifles all you had? Oughtn’t you, precisely, to preserve them? To make little crystal drops of them, that you could keep, like charms on a bracelet, to tell against danger when next it came?”
― Sarah Waters, quote from The Night Watch


“The best thing to do was to brazen it out, throw your head back, walk with a swagger, make a 'character' of yourself. It was tiring, sometimes, when you hadn't the energy for it; that's all.”
― Sarah Waters, quote from The Night Watch



“I've given up reading the papers. Since the world's so obviously bent on killing itself, I decided months ago to sit back and let it.”
― Sarah Waters, quote from The Night Watch


“I'll burn myself, or I'll cut myself. For a burn or a cut might be shown, might be nursed, might scar or heal, would be a miserable kind of emblem; would anyway be there, on the surface of her body, rather than corroding it from within. Now the thought came to her again, that she might scar herself in some way. It came, like the solution to a problem: I won't be doing it like some hysterical girl. I won't be hoping she'll come catch me at it. It won't be like lying on the sitting-room floor. I'll be doing it for myself, as a secret.”
― Sarah Waters, quote from The Night Watch


“How easy it was, she thought unhappily as she did it, for men and women. They could stand in a street and argue, flirt - they could kiss, make love, do anything at all - and the world indulged them.”
― Sarah Waters, quote from The Night Watch


“I must be better, she thought—realising it then, in that moment, for the first time. I must be OK.”
― Sarah Waters, quote from The Night Watch


“[...] You're not in love with anyone, are you?'
'No,' said Kay. 'Someone's in love with me, as it happens. A grand person, too… But that's another secret. I'm thinking of the morphia, you see. I'm counting on your not being able to remember any of this.'
'Why is it a secret?'
'I promised the person it would be, that's all.'
'But you won't love him back?'
Kay smiled. 'You'd think I would, wouldn't you? But, isn't it funny—we never seem to love the people we ought to, I can't think why…”
― Sarah Waters, quote from The Night Watch



“It was done the day you took me to that house in Bryanston Square, she said. Or even, the time before that, when you bought me tea. We stood in the sun, and you closed your eyes and I looked at your face...I think it was done then, Julia.”
― Sarah Waters, quote from The Night Watch


“She let her head sink, until her brow met the varnished glass. How easy it was, she thought unhappily as she did it, for men and women. They could stand in a street and argue, flirt—they could kiss, make love, do anything at all—and the world indulged them. Whereas she and Julia—”
― Sarah Waters, quote from The Night Watch


“You wait 'til you're my age, and wake every morning to gaze on the vast tract of uncreased linen that is the other side of the divan. Try being gallant to that... We shan't even have children, don't forget, to look after us in our old age.”
― Sarah Waters, quote from The Night Watch


“They settled back into
an embrace - as if it was nothing, as if it
was easy; as if they weren't two boys, in
a prison, in a city being blown and shot
to bits; as if it was the most natural thing
in the world.”
― Sarah Waters, quote from The Night Watch


“They settled back into an embrace - as if it was nothing, as if it was easy; as if they weren't two boys, in a prison, in a city being blown and shot to bits; as if it was the most natural thing in the world.”
― Sarah Waters, quote from The Night Watch



“She looked again at Julia's handsome, fragile figure and thought, What is it about Julia? Why is she always so alone?”
― Sarah Waters, quote from The Night Watch


Get over it. What a funny phrase that is! As if one’s grief is a fallen house, and one has to pick one’s way over the rubble to the ground on the other side…”
― Sarah Waters, quote from The Night Watch


“She wished for a moment that they were all children again. It still seemed extraordinary to her, that everything had turned out the way it had.”
― Sarah Waters, quote from The Night Watch


About the author

Sarah Waters
Born place: in Neyland, Pembrokeshire, Wales, The United Kingdom
Born date July 21, 1966
See more on GoodReads

Popular quotes

“This is my life, TK; my woman, my baby, my life! Nothing comes before that!”
― Pepper Pace, quote from Beast: An Estill County Mountain Man Romance #1


“This morning, light lapped the water as if God had spilt a goblet of molten gold upon a ground of darkest velvet.”
― Geraldine Brooks, quote from Caleb's Crossing


“In third period Math, we were forced to sit in alphabetical order. Which put me right behind Logan, who was throwing all those passes to Aiden in the scrimmage. He took off his navy blazer and when he leaned forward to write, I could see muscles bulging across his back and shoulders. I can already tell Math is going to suck, but at least I’ll have a nice view.
It’s like what Grandpa always says about real estate. Location, location, location.”
― Jillian Dodd, quote from Kiss Me


“I didn't flee a dictator or swim an ocean to be an American like some do. I just thought long and hard about it.”
― Craig Ferguson, quote from American on Purpose: The Improbable Adventures of an Unlikely Patriot


“Sang: Nathan, are you awake?
Nathan: Nope.
Sang: Sleep texting?
Nathan: Yes.
Sang: That's a talent.”
― C.L. Stone, quote from Friends vs. Family


Interesting books

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
(185.1K)
Midnight in the Gard...
by John Berendt
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan
(304.2K)
Snow Flower and the...
by Lisa See
American Psycho
(189.4K)
American Psycho
by Bret Easton Ellis
Infinite Jest
(61K)
Infinite Jest
by David Foster Wallace
Anna and the French Kiss
(309K)
Anna and the French...
by Stephanie Perkins
The Scarlet Pimpernel
(106.7K)
The Scarlet Pimperne...
by Emmuska Orczy

About BookQuoters

BookQuoters is a community of passionate readers who enjoy sharing the most meaningful, memorable and interesting quotes from great books. As the world communicates more and more via texts, memes and sound bytes, short but profound quotes from books have become more relevant and important. For some of us a quote becomes a mantra, a goal or a philosophy by which we live. For all of us, quotes are a great way to remember a book and to carry with us the author’s best ideas.

We thoughtfully gather quotes from our favorite books, both classic and current, and choose the ones that are most thought-provoking. Each quote represents a book that is interesting, well written and has potential to enhance the reader’s life. We also accept submissions from our visitors and will select the quotes we feel are most appealing to the BookQuoters community.

Founded in 2023, BookQuoters has quickly become a large and vibrant community of people who share an affinity for books. Books are seen by some as a throwback to a previous world; conversely, gleaning the main ideas of a book via a quote or a quick summary is typical of the Information Age but is a habit disdained by some diehard readers. We feel that we have the best of both worlds at BookQuoters; we read books cover-to-cover but offer you some of the highlights. We hope you’ll join us.