Corbin Dodge's Reviews > Fingersmith

Fingersmith by Sarah Waters
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Apr 09, 2008

it was amazing
bookshelves: fiction, favorites
Read in April, 2008

Character is a fascinating thing, and not many authors can top Waters' ability to create character through dialogue. She also zooms in on details: the sound of a man rubbing his fingers along his unshaved chin, the pop from a fireplace that comes at just the appropriate moment--Waters can do it all. She's able to take point-of-view to a new level-- look over here, now here, now here. It's amazing.

Almost everything about this book is perfection. I love the zipper effect of the first two books being the same story, but from two different perspectives. That expression on Sue's face that Maud couldn't figure out--you will soon learn what Maud was thinking from her point of view. These characters dance like no others and it just keeps getting better chapter-by-chapter until they are finally all zipped-up.

I've noticed that many authors have issues with keeping up the quality in their books as they write. The beginnings of are often nice and tight, but the endings end up being loose and disappointing (perhaps because of deadlines, boredom, interest in moving on, a fly on the wall, who fucking knows?), but Fingersmith continues to be great from the first page to the last.

My only criticisms are (a)of the weak romantic lesbian plot. It doesn't seem to add much to the book. (b)I also found the last several pages to be unremarkable. I think the book could have ended with Sue, Dainty, and Mrs. Sucksby's dress on a much more breathtaking note. For a book that has so many twists and 'on your toes' moments, it seems that it should have left on that note rather than tying it all into a nice happy wad of an ending.

I haven't enjoyed a book this much in a long time and I'll be reading this one again, and watching the BBC series as well!

I also have to say that if this becomes a movie, Kathy Bates may be the perfect cast member to play Mrs. Sucksby, lol.
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Reading Progress

04/07 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-4)




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Amy Wilder While I agree with many points of your excellently articulate review, I am horrified that you didn't like the "weak lesbian romance" - for some of us, that was the burning core of the book.
Perhaps you aren't a lesbian, but I'm not sure how it seemed weak to you or how it could be seen as other than integral to the plot. If girls never fell in love, they never would have thrown a wrench into the workings of the plots surrounding them and they might never have been free.
One of the things I love about Waters is how everything in her novels is so tightly woven (as you describe, she doesn't get weaker towards the endings) and each piece fits so tightly that nothing else seems to work without it. Can't imagine the story without the romance any more than I can imagine it being set in contemporary London or written about men.


message 3: by Trish (new)

Trish Great name: Mrs. Sucksby. May read it just for that vision of Kathy Bates as Mrs. Sucksby .


message 2: by Mira (last edited Jun 12, 2011 10:20AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mira I so agree! I was imagining Kathy Bates as Mrs. Suckby the entire read.


Nrtashi I can't comprehend how can you possibly think that the ending or the love story between the main characters are weakest points of the book while in fact, they are the strongest. Personally, I don't know if I would be able to love this book as much as I did if I didn't "get into" the "lesbian romantic plot", as you called it.


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