A genre-blend of historical fiction and time travel, Blackout is set in the same world as The Doomsday Book and To Say Nothing of the Dog. In this case, several historians at Oxford in 2060 travel back to study England at war in 1940. The main ones are Michael - there for the evacuation at Dunkirk, Merope - who observes children evacuated from London to the countryside, and Polly - who's right in the middle of the London blitz. The story leaps around with cliffhangers everywhere: include the final ending. To find out what happens to everyone, you must read the next book, All Clear.
I listened to an audiobook (Brilliance; 19 hours) performed by Katherine Kellgren, who sounded like she spoke through clenched teeth whenever the dialogue was in a protagonist's thoughts, rather than out loud. There's a lot of this, and it gave the impression that the historians had simmering frustrations. Which may be accurate, since they were obliged to hide their true identities and their foreknowledge of events. Still, it made me feel a bit on edge. It may also have increased my annoyance with the historians, who did a lot of rationalizing when things went wrong. They are supposed to be intelligent people, but they did some pretty stupid things.
Blackout is an entertaining page-turner, but I liked To Say Nothing of the Dog much better. I picked up this book in response to a read-along at two other book blogs: She Reads and Reads and Books and Movies. Instead of stopping at the correct place for first week, however, I've read it all the way through. Oops! How did that happen? My excuse is that I'll be away in Europe by the end of July. I'm looking forward to following the ongoing discussion, however.
Wow - you finished it quickly! After your comments on the narrator, I think I'm glad I'm reading this one in print.
Yes, I agree that this story is probably better in print than audio.
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