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Fingersmith Paperback – 26 Jun 2012
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"A triumph of narrative magic, a glowing, sinister backlit enchanter." -- Times Literary Supplement
"Buy it or borrow it - but do yourself a favour, and read it." -- Docklands and City of London Recorder
"Infuses Victorian melodrama with a refreshing, modern sensibility... the novel is a tremendous achievement." -- The Lady
A worthy, innovative, even subversive successor to the doorstoppers of Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins -- TELEGRAPH
* The Orange Prize short-listed, Booker Prize short-listed, critically adored, third novel from Sarah Waters - reissued in with a stunning new jacketSee all Product description
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Secondly, the clever and twisty plot was fantastic in that each of the new acts of the story made you almost completely re-evaluate everything you felt and thought about the previous act.
Even though everything was theoretically resolved by the end, I like that it was somewhat open ended. I'd love to know what kind of lives Susan and Maud went on to have.
In some places the pacing sagged a little, even when an extended period of time needed to pass, but overall it was still enjoyable and thought-provoking romp.
In addition to carefully crafted plot and fully-fleshed out, engaging characters Waters' writing is just such a joy to read. She does not misplace a single word.
I am in awe, and excited for having discovered this writer. Can't wait to read more of her books.
Waters very convincingly captures the atmosphere of Britain just after WW2. The language she uses, the understated reticence of it's central narrator and the clear and unfussy descriptions of the village, the house and the changes on the way.
The characters are fully realised from the outset, you believe in them as real people. The situation they are, not just a family dealing with a spiteful ghost but a family that has no place in the modern Britain that is coming.
The house gradually infects all the main characters, finally the narrator himself succumbs and Waters does this part really well. You become aware suddenly that there is something very wrong with him, that he is 'almost' an unreliable narrator.
The ending is a little sudden and perhaps might have benefited from being spooled out a little longer. I'd like to say more about some of the weaknesses of the book but can't without giving away the plot. But despite the books faults and they are minor in comparison to the rubbish many other writers get away with, it is unputdownable. From the first first word on the first page, Waters has you gripped. I'm looking forward to reading more from her.
With Mrs Sucksby (love the name!) as a female tour de force in the Fagin mode, and Gentleman (that's what they call him) as a suave version of Bill Sykes, and many other off center characters, it really is
quite entertaining wondering how it's all going to turn out.
The story progresses nicely, the characters dance to the author's tune, and the Sting is put in place.
So, go get this book, sit back with a nice glass of wine, and bathe in the tale that will keep you turning the pages.
But don't get impatient because it burns slow - enjoy.
Most of the book is narrated by Sue and I enjoyed reading her voice the most. She had quite a straight-forward and sarcastic voice which sometimes made me chuckle and I enjoyed her observations about her new role and the servants who work in the big house.
"It was all the most trifling sort of nonsense, and enough to make a cat laugh; but it was life and death to them - I suppose, it would be life and death to you, if all you had to look forward to for the next forty years was carrying trays and baking pastry. Anyway, I saw that, if I was to get anywhere with them, I must watch my steps"
Unfortunately I did not enjoy Maud's narration as much as it didn't have as much spark as Sues, although given her circumstances this is more realistic.
While I preferred the character development and overall message in The Little Stranger there is something to be said for a good plot which manages to keep you engrossed and on your toes. Sarah Waters has also impressed me once again with her writing and the images she creates, she manages to twist the genre by having Maud not fall in love with her hansom suitor but with her maid, further complicating the plan. Waters manages to capture whatever atmosphere she is writing about whether it is the back streets of London or the inside of an asylum and while some of the twists were a little unbelievable, as a reader I was still swept along with it.
A gripping and tantalising read, you could do a lot worse than pick this one up.
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