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The Watch Tower: Text Classics - eBook

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The Watch Tower: Text Classics

Customer Review Snapshot

3 out of 5 stars
6 total reviews
5 stars
0
4 stars
2
3 stars
3
2 stars
0
1 star
1
Most helpful positive review
With the '60s now fondly remembered as a time of fast-paced reform and social liberalisation, it is easy to forget that when The Watch Tower was first published in 1966, it was still perfectly acceptable for Australian men to speak to and about women with withering contempt. And, part of what makes this taut psychological drama so disturbing is how familiar and contemporary its undercurrent of misogyny feels. Sisters Laura and Clare are forced by changed economic circumstances to abandon their professional ambitions and move to Sydney suburbia with Laura's cruel new husband, Felix Shaw. His impetuous business dealings and relentless emotional manipulation soon have the two young women's lives in chaos. Tensions between the trio quickly escalate, building steadily towards a surprising climax. The Watch Tower is not a particularly pleasant read, but it does showcase Elizabeth Harrower as a highly skilled writer. I am glad that she has lived to see her novel enjoy a well-deserved revival.

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The Watch Tower: Text Classics The Watch Tower: Text Classics - eBook

Specifications

Read This On
Android,Ereader,Desktop,IOS,Windows
Is Downloadable Content Available
Y
Digital Reader Format
Epub (Yes)
Language
en
Series Title
Text Classics
Publisher
Kobo
Author
Elizabeth Harrower
ISBN-13
9781921921988
ISBN-10
1921921986

Customer Reviews

5 stars
0
4 stars
2
3 stars
3
2 stars
0
1 star
1
Most helpful positive review
With the 60s now fond...
With the '60s now fondly remembered as a time of fast-paced reform and social liberalisation, it is easy to forget that when The Watch Tower was first published in 1966, it was still perfectly acceptable for Australian men to speak to and about women with withering contempt. And, part of what makes this taut psychological drama so disturbing is how familiar and contemporary its undercurrent of misogyny feels. Sisters Laura and Clare are forced by changed economic circumstances to abandon their professional ambitions and move to Sydney suburbia with Laura's cruel new husband, Felix Shaw. His impetuous business dealings and relentless emotional manipulation soon have the two young women's lives in chaos. Tensions between the trio quickly escalate, building steadily towards a surprising climax. The Watch Tower is not a particularly pleasant read, but it does showcase Elizabeth Harrower as a highly skilled writer. I am glad that she has lived to see her novel enjoy a well-deserved revival.
Most helpful negative review
For something to read ...
For something to read I thought I'd try "The Watch Tower" by Elizabeth Harrower. At 35% of the way through I have to give up. It is a horrible story dwelling on the abuse of Laura the central character and her younger sister Clare. First there is the indolent mother who hardly knew her daughters sent off to boarding school and after the death of her husband the doctor, pulls her daughters (9 & 15) out of their school, moves to Manly in Sydney and proceeds to make the girls her servants. Then as WWII is underway the mother abandons the girls to go off live off her Uncle in Somerset. No wonder the husband died - the only way he could get away from this toxic person! While there is sympathy for the girls in the writing, Harrower's style is never-the-less strained - sucked in and spare as if one has bitten into a sour lemon. But, things get worse. Laura left to care for now 14 year old Clare, falls into a convenient marriage with Felix, her boss the owner of the cardboard box factory where she works as his secretary. He is in his 40's and has a cloudy penchant for younger men in business who dud him out of his property. As was (is) the man O misogynist culture of strained obtuse men with low emotional intelligence, for Felix women are accessories to men - less able less intelligent. Its awful. There is the misogyny and Felix's un acknowledged homoeroticism and his moods of violence. That is as far as I'm going with this book. Reading reviews, most of the rest of this novel details the withering of Laura's self hood and her exporting her accommodations of Felix's mania onto Clare. To read it would be ghoulish. So I read several reviews of Harrower's other books and they all have similar themes - young women who get into relationships with oppressive patronizing men and, I wonder, of unresolved sexuality. The women's dignity of self is obliterated. Harrower's writing is fine - too fine - it pierces. What I've read so far of her style in 'The Watch Tower' I think it is in accord with her plots. . Not only is the absence of any generosity, of joy, there is the opposite - severe, constrained, bitter. Its withering.
Most helpful positive review
With the 60s now fond...
With the '60s now fondly remembered as a time of fast-paced reform and social liberalisation, it is easy to forget that when The Watch Tower was first published in 1966, it was still perfectly acceptable for Australian men to speak to and about women with withering contempt. And, part of what makes this taut psychological drama so disturbing is how familiar and contemporary its undercurrent of misogyny feels. Sisters Laura and Clare are forced by changed economic circumstances to abandon their professional ambitions and move to Sydney suburbia with Laura's cruel new husband, Felix Shaw. His impetuous business dealings and relentless emotional manipulation soon have the two young women's lives in chaos. Tensions between the trio quickly escalate, building steadily towards a surprising climax. The Watch Tower is not a particularly pleasant read, but it does showcase Elizabeth Harrower as a highly skilled writer. I am glad that she has lived to see her novel enjoy a well-deserved revival.
Most helpful negative review
For something to read ...
For something to read I thought I'd try "The Watch Tower" by Elizabeth Harrower. At 35% of the way through I have to give up. It is a horrible story dwelling on the abuse of Laura the central character and her younger sister Clare. First there is the indolent mother who hardly knew her daughters sent off to boarding school and after the death of her husband the doctor, pulls her daughters (9 & 15) out of their school, moves to Manly in Sydney and proceeds to make the girls her servants. Then as WWII is underway the mother abandons the girls to go off live off her Uncle in Somerset. No wonder the husband died - the only way he could get away from this toxic person! While there is sympathy for the girls in the writing, Harrower's style is never-the-less strained - sucked in and spare as if one has bitten into a sour lemon. But, things get worse. Laura left to care for now 14 year old Clare, falls into a convenient marriage with Felix, her boss the owner of the cardboard box factory where she works as his secretary. He is in his 40's and has a cloudy penchant for younger men in business who dud him out of his property. As was (is) the man O misogynist culture of strained obtuse men with low emotional intelligence, for Felix women are accessories to men - less able less intelligent. Its awful. There is the misogyny and Felix's un acknowledged homoeroticism and his moods of violence. That is as far as I'm going with this book. Reading reviews, most of the rest of this novel details the withering of Laura's self hood and her exporting her accommodations of Felix's mania onto Clare. To read it would be ghoulish. So I read several reviews of Harrower's other books and they all have similar themes - young women who get into relationships with oppressive patronizing men and, I wonder, of unresolved sexuality. The women's dignity of self is obliterated. Harrower's writing is fine - too fine - it pierces. What I've read so far of her style in 'The Watch Tower' I think it is in accord with her plots. . Not only is the absence of any generosity, of joy, there is the opposite - severe, constrained, bitter. Its withering.
1-5 of 6 reviews

Text Publishing is res...

Text Publishing is responsible for reissuing a lot of excellent but out of print Australian novels. The Watch Tower tells the story of two sisters whose father dies and when they are deserted by their mother on the eve of WWII the older sister (only 18) marries a much older man for security and to ensure that her younger sister is looked after. However, Felix Shaw turns out to be cruel, abusive and controlling and this book examines the consequences of his behaviour on each of the sisters. Not a pleasant story but very well written and believable - and very sad.

With the 60s now fond...

With the '60s now fondly remembered as a time of fast-paced reform and social liberalisation, it is easy to forget that when The Watch Tower was first published in 1966, it was still perfectly acceptable for Australian men to speak to and about women with withering contempt. And, part of what makes this taut psychological drama so disturbing is how familiar and contemporary its undercurrent of misogyny feels. Sisters Laura and Clare are forced by changed economic circumstances to abandon their professional ambitions and move to Sydney suburbia with Laura's cruel new husband, Felix Shaw. His impetuous business dealings and relentless emotional manipulation soon have the two young women's lives in chaos. Tensions between the trio quickly escalate, building steadily towards a surprising climax. The Watch Tower is not a particularly pleasant read, but it does showcase Elizabeth Harrower as a highly skilled writer. I am glad that she has lived to see her novel enjoy a well-deserved revival.

A psychological drama ...

A psychological drama set in Sydney in the 1960's, this is a book about three seriously weird. people. Two teenage sisters are abandoned by their mother on the death of their father. They are left alone , with no-one to turn to, until Laura the eldest girl who is 18 decides to accept the offer of marriage from her much older employer. What follows is a tale of these girls living a life of complete domination by the horrible Felix. I couldn't decide whether he was an alcoholic or had a serious mental disorder or both, but he was certainly a misogynist who took pleasure in making Laura's life a complete misery. She in turn passes on the misery by forcing her younger sister to comply with his every whim. All through the book I was thinking "why don't they leave?" but then things were different for women fifty years ago. The end of the book comes rather suddenly with younger sister Clare finally extricating herself from the predicament, but one is left with the feeling that life is not necessarily going to be any better for her. Laura will never be free while ever Felix is alive so her story is also left unresolved. Although the story was most unpleasant it was a good read if a bit disjointed at times.

Our book club is alway...

Our book club is always keen to gain new knowledge and perspective when it comes to reading novels, especially if said novel is considered a modern masterpiece! What serious reader doesn't want to add to their list of read classics? So it was with this intension that we ploughed through Australian author Elizabeth Harrower's The Watch Tower. Now, although our opinions differed somewhat, there was no doubting the emotion that this book exposed. We all felt the enslavement and vulnerability thrust upon Laura and Clare by the misogynist Felix, and although this left the majority of us frustrated and angry, there was some empathy for two unexperienced and emotionally inept women in a time when there was little or no support for such souls. There were those of us who disliked this book intensely. Found the story line grim and too slow and the characters unlikable. Then we had the opposite ... brilliant writing that looked to expose the raw reality of domestic abuse within a dark, psychological thriller. Eleanor did not get to read this month's selection, but she did see a great interview with Harrower and it led her to believe that The Watch Tower may have had some biographical content. This sort of insight usually brings more questions than answers to our discussions. If only we could have An Audience With ... Elizabeth Harrower! If you are keen to see our book clubs in action, don't miss our Audience With David Cairns this month.

Compelling story about...

Compelling story about the weird lives of two sisters in Sydney. Unfortunately it's a disjointed tale which never reaches the heights it promises.

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Electrode, Comp-389271316, DC-prod-cdc03, ENV-prod-a, PROF-PROD, VER-30.0.3-ebf-2, SHA-8c8e8dc1c07e462c80c1b82096c2da2858100078, CID-8ddde709-bd8-16eee5875da62f, Generated: Tue, 10 Dec 2019 05:46:45 GMT