All Clear

Connie Willis
In Blackout, award-winning author Connie Willis returned to the time-traveling future of 2060—the setting for several of her most celebrated works—and sent three Oxford historians to World War II England: Michael Davies, intent on observing heroism during the Miracle of Dunkirk; Merope Ward, studying children evacuated from London; and Polly Churchill, posing as a shopgirl in the middle of the Blitz. But when the three become unexpectedly trapped in 1940, they struggle not only to find their way home but to survive as Hitler’s bombers attempt to pummel London into submission. Now the situation has grown even more dire. Small discrepancies in the historical record seem to indicate that one or all of them have somehow affected the past, changing the outcome of the war. The belief that the past can be observed but never altered has always been a core belief of time-travel theory—but suddenly it seems that the theory is horribly, tragically wrong. Meanwhile, in 2060 Oxford, the historians’ supervisor, Mr. Dunworthy, and seventeen-year-old Colin Templer, who nurses a powerful crush on Polly, are engaged in a frantic and seemingly impossible struggle of their own—to find three missing needles in the haystack of history. Told with compassion, humor, and an artistry both uplifting and devastating, All Clear is more than just the triumphant culmination of the adventure that began with Blackout. It’s Connie Willis’s most humane, heartfelt novel yet—a clear-eyed celebration of faith, love, and the quiet, ordinary acts of heroism and sacrifice too often overlooked by history.   

Reviews

Reviewed: 2016-12-15
Not a perfect book by any means, but this is a worthy ending to the duo of books which began with [b:Blackout|6506307|Blackout|Connie Willis|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1320493479s/6506307.jpg|6697901].

A star must be deducted, however, because it is abundantly clear that the two books could have been printed as one if an editor had taken Willis by the arms and forced her to cut down on the "Missed Connections" blather. Honestly, telling us a tale from different ppoints of view, then giving us detailed and lengthy discourses on what the present PoV thinks the other ones are hiding from them, and of course detailing over and over again what they are themselves keeping schtum... pages and pages and pages of this.

When she stops this palaver and gets back to writing the book this simply sparkles. Fantastic ideas about the conundrums of time travel, only marred by the historian's apparent cluelessness about, well, history. I understand that history (in the universe of the books) is in a balkanized specialist state due to the effects of timetravel, but, come on! a historian examining women's roles in WW2 not knowing about Bletchley?
Reviewed: 2016-11-25
Fascinating subject matter, and I learned so much about WWII that I never knew! The characters did get the tiniest bit annoying with all their self-sacrifice, and I think it could have been shortened without losing anything.
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