Wow! LOVED this!!! Read 600 pages in about 2 days. When I started the book I had no idea what it was really about. I saw it as a recomendation from an...moreWow! LOVED this!!! Read 600 pages in about 2 days. When I started the book I had no idea what it was really about. I saw it as a recomendation from another reader who has similar taste as I do. I am glad that I didn't read a synopsis of this book beforhand as I probably would not have read it...especially if I had read amazon.com's review.
Here is a great review from Eric Anderson: Sarah Waters' third novel begins simply enough. Sue Trinder is a teenage orphan who lives amongst a group of confidence men, thieves, baby farmers and fingersmiths (a 19th-century term for a pickpockets). An unscrupulous man commonly and ironically known as Gentleman compels Sue to join in his plot to win the heart of an elderly bookish man's niece named Maud. Maud is heiress to a fortune, but she can only claim it if she marries. The plan is: win the lady, ditch the wife in an insane asylum and split the fortune. Sue becomes Maud's maid and when the plot is reaching its timely conclusion is the exact point where it is fractured and split like a forest path into numerous twisting paths revealing long held secrets and hidden strife. Sue and Maud are made to endure separate trials in their journey including the incarceration in a mad house, the subjection of reading and transcribing appalling pornography to a perverted old man and a dangerous journey through treacherous London in search of a friend in order for them to discover what their true pasts consist of and what predestined traits may tweak their futures. It is fitting that at the beginning of this novel a reference is made to Dickens' Oliver Twist. Fingersmith is a novel descended from Dickens voluminous library as well as much 19th century sensualist fiction. Waters skilled use of language to evoke characters and a sense of place through physical detail and psychological mapping of experience is a distinct characteristic of this descent. She also has a tremendous ability to use fabulous names such as (Mrs Sucksby and Miss Bacon) as Dickens did to mark poignant traits of her characters. Where Waters veers from Dickens is in her conjuring of robust female characters who can dominate the novel, not through the circumstances of their plight and their representation of certain social injustice, but through the powerful voice they use to assert their individual positions. Of course the great descriptions and plotting Waters uses to conjure this tale of a 19th century English plot to capture a family fortune makes a great many statements about the ways in which women were marginalised and the bizarre social positions they were forced to inhabit. However, the great strength of her brilliant protagonists Sue and Maud is in the way their actions are guided more by their impulsive desire to survive rather than to spur the trim, thrilling plot or subscribe to any societal roles presented to them. Their struggles led by these natures produces a longing for a happy resolution built not out of sentimentally contrived conventions, but a deserved reward for revealing to us their faulty human natures.
Sue and Maud are not angels. They both deceive and betray each other, but they discover in this Darwinian world a rare affection for each other and a chance to share confidence when one's closest family is apt to betray you. The curious mirroring effect Waters uses with them, mixing pasts and characteristics of them, is descended from a more recent literary genius, Angela Carter. There are elements of her ideas (particularly realised in her novel Wise Children) on the way identity can be splintered, performed and reimagined which correspond to the ways Susan and Maud's fates are intertwined. Their relationship is drawn out as a struggle to express their mutual love and define their suppressed lesbian desires. But this is also presented as an arduous task to realise the aspects which make them powerful individuals. This novel makes the remote past enticingly familiar and relates a harrowing story that makes you wish it to continue on and on. (less)
Loved this! It was a compulsive read..had to finish it once I started it.
Here is the blub from amazon: From Publishers Weekly This is a difficult book...moreLoved this! It was a compulsive read..had to finish it once I started it.
Here is the blub from amazon: From Publishers Weekly This is a difficult book for a reader. Fletcher has a clean, clear voice for the narrator and for Cara, mother of an autistic child who is found in the woods near the dead body of a retarded girl. But her other voices are unconvincing; they all sound so off that it's hard to distinguish autistic children and adults from those who aren't. Morgan, the boy who solves the murder, sounds like a deranged adult, while young Chris, who lures a teen bully into the woods, sounds like a peculiar man uttering short, jerky words and phrases. Although wrapped like a mystery, this is really a book about autism, about the numerous forms it can take, about parents who do or don't devote themselves to understanding and helping their children. All of this is genuinely interesting, but as a novel it's contrived. The children's interior monologues give the reader a glimpse into their thought processes, but are so detailed they don't ring true. (One child distinguishes between "mean" and "cruel" behavior-verbal vs. physical abuse.) The mystery is less compelling than the author's valuable insights into our "compassion, disdain, terror and pity" for these youngsters.(less)
I really enjoyed this book. Great infomation about Indian culture.
In Umrigar's tender fourth novel, Tehmina "Tammy" Sethna is torn between two culture...moreI really enjoyed this book. Great infomation about Indian culture.
In Umrigar's tender fourth novel, Tehmina "Tammy" Sethna is torn between two cultures that couldn't be more different: Bombay and Cleveland. The former is her homeland, but after her husband's recent death, she's been staying with her son and his family in America. Tehmina loves being near grandson Cookie, but she often feels like an intruder in her American daughter-in-law's home, and she's disconcerted by the changes in her son, Sorab, who is stressed from the corporate rat race. Though Tehmina's loneliness floods her with memories of her husband, the Parsi community back in India and her traditional ways, she finds no small amount of purpose (and celebrity) in Cleveland after suspecting her neighbor of child abuse and intervening on the children's behalf. Immigration laws, meanwhile, force her to decide whether she'll remain in Cleveland or return to Bombay. Umrigar (The Space Between Us) shows the unseemly side of American excess and prejudice while gently reminding readers of opportunities sometimes taken for granted(less)
LOVED this! Characters were so developed...they felt like they were sitting right next to you. One drawback was that sometimes she tried to get you to...moreLOVED this! Characters were so developed...they felt like they were sitting right next to you. One drawback was that sometimes she tried to get you to know them too well. (less)
From Publishers Weekly When Dana and Hugh Clarke's baby is born into their wealthy, white New England seaside community, t...moreLoved this. Compulsive read.
From Publishers Weekly When Dana and Hugh Clarke's baby is born into their wealthy, white New England seaside community, the baby's unmistakably African-American features puzzle her thoroughly Anglo-looking parents. Hugh's family pedigree extends back to the Mayflower, and his historian father has made a career of tracing the esteemed Clarke family genealogy, which does not include African-Americans. Dana's mother died when Dana was a child, and Dana never knew her father: she matter-of-factly figures that baby Lizzie's features must hark back to her little-known past. Hugh, a lawyer who has always passionately defended his minority clients, finds his liberal beliefs don't run very deep and demands a paternity test to rule out the possibility of infidelity. By the time the Clarkes have uncovered the tangled roots of their family trees, more than one skeleton has been unearthed, and the couple's relationship—not to mention their family loyalty—has been severely tested. Delinsky (Looking for Peyton Place) smoothly challenges characters and readers alike to confront their hidden hypocrisies. Although the dialogue about race at times seems staged and rarely delves beyond a surface level, and although near-perfect Dana and her knitting circle are too idealized to be believable, Delinsky gets the political and personal dynamics right(less)