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Past Group Book Discussions > Fingersmith by Sarah Waters

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message 1: by Simon (Highwayman) (last edited Nov 01, 2014 03:12AM) (new)

Simon (Highwayman) (highwayman) | 4698 comments http://www.amazon.co.uk/Fingersmith-S...



Divided into three parts, the tale is narrated by two orphaned girls whose lives are inextricably linked. It begins in a grimy thieves kitchen in Borough, South London with 17-year-old orphan Susan Trinder. She has been raised by Mrs Sucksby, a cockney Ma Baker, in a household of fingersmiths (pickpockets), coiners and burglars. One evening Richard "Gentleman" Rivers, a handsome confidence man, arrives. He has an elaborate scheme to defraud Maud Lilly, a wealthy heiress. If Sue will help him she'll get a share of the "shine". Duly installed in the Lillys' country house as Maud's maid, Sue finds that her mistress is virtually a prisoner. Maud's eccentric Uncle Christopher, an obsessive collector of erotica (loosely modelled on Henry Spenser Ashbee) controls every aspect of her life. Slowly a curious intimacy develops between the two girls and as Gentleman's plans take shape, Sue begins to have doubts. The scheme is finally hatched but as Maud commences her narrative it suddenly becomes more than a tad difficult to tell quite who has double-crossed who. Waters' penchant for Byzantine plotting can get a bit exhausting but even at its densest moments--and remember this is smoggy London circa 1862--it remains mesmerising. A damning critique of Victorian moral and sexual hypocrisy, a gripping melodrama and a love story to boot, this book ingeniously reworks some truly classic themes.--Travis Elborough

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Fingersmith-S...

Recommended by Aunty Janet so I hope she will pop along and have a chat.


Rosemary (grooving with the Picts) (nosemanny) | 9111 comments I've read this, enjoyed it. A novel to get your teeth into - it isn't light.


Patti (baconater) (goldengreene) | 61757 comments Good choice. I really enjoyed it.

There's a bbc made film of the book as well, for those so inclined.


message 4: by Natasha (new)

Natasha Holme (natashaholme) | 811 comments I've heard this is even better than The Paying Guests!


message 5: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Hill | 1603 comments I haven't read this one yet but the BBC film is superb. Munching my way through The Paying Guests now and the writing is just sublime.


Patti (baconater) (goldengreene) | 61757 comments must get a copy of the paying guests.


message 7: by David (new)

David Hadley | 4873 comments I've read a couple or so of her books, not got around to Fingersmith yet, probably because I saw it on the telly and need to forget about that version before I go to the book.


message 8: by Steven (new)

Steven | 202 comments I've read 3 of her books, including this one and loved it. it is imo even better than The Paying Guests and I might even reread it soon.


message 9: by Emmanuelle (last edited Nov 07, 2014 06:18PM) (new)

Emmanuelle Maupassant (emmanuelledemaupassant) I'm utterly in love with Sarah Waters' writing.
I enjoyed Fingersmith more than Tipping the Velvet, but my favourite may be Affinity. The Night Watch was also a great read.

For Sarah Waters fans, I also recommend The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber


message 10: by Kath (new)

Kath Middleton | 25093 comments Just bought! Second month on the run that I've managed a group read!


Patti (baconater) (goldengreene) | 61757 comments Yay Kath!

And now I'm very disappointed.

I just excitedly googled Sarah Waters, hoping to share her official website and was extremely dismayed.

Once again confronted by a font, background colour and layout that made me immediately seek out the back button.

I'll not be googling her again.. That was painful.


message 12: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Hill | 1603 comments I'll share it. It's not THAT bad!!

http://www.sarahwaters.com


message 13: by Kath (new)

Kath Middleton | 25093 comments It's quite bad! Not easy on the eye. It would fail accessibility criteria.


Rosemary (grooving with the Picts) (nosemanny) | 9111 comments White text on black background. It's not clever and it's not funny.


Gingerlily - The Full Wild | 36808 comments I found it a bit difficult to read - I was squinting and the letters seemed to be moving slightly. Even with my reading glasses on.


message 16: by Jonathan (last edited Nov 07, 2014 11:26AM) (new)

Jonathan Hill | 1603 comments You all need to get down with the kids! ;)

For a luxurious black on white reading experience, I heartily recommend my own website!


Rosemary (grooving with the Picts) (nosemanny) | 9111 comments The kids don't do websites. They all do snapchat innit


message 18: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Hill | 1603 comments Innit though


message 20: by Jim (new)

Jim | 22035 comments yeah whatever


Rosemary (grooving with the Picts) (nosemanny) | 9111 comments Nope, that's all I've got


message 22: by Aunty Janet (new)

Aunty Janet (janetauty) | 297 comments Sorry I've not popped in before, life has been a bit too interesting. Boring is very under-rated!
This is one of the few WOW books I've read over the years. I love the descriptive prose and plot surprises.
I enjoyed this far more than 'Paying Guests', but we are all different thank goodness.
I hope (some) others enjoy this book as much as I did!


message 23: by Kath (new)

Kath Middleton | 25093 comments I'm half way through and I love the surprises it's throwing at me!


message 24: by Aunty Janet (new)

Aunty Janet (janetauty) | 297 comments Glad you are enjoying it Kath.


message 25: by Kath (new)

Kath Middleton | 25093 comments I was out last night so only got a bit read. It's a looooong book but never stops moving. 94% now and I'm itching to finish it - tonight!


message 26: by Kath (new)

Kath Middleton | 25093 comments I did finish it, and yesterday I reviewed it -

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

It has echoes of Dickens - naturally, I suppose, since it's set in one of the lower class areas of London in the 1860s. It differs from his work in that he was rubbish at writing convincing women. His heroines were all as wet as a puddle. The women here were strong characters in their very different ways. We started from Sue's point of view and she, brought up in a thieves' kitchen, you might say, was never going to take the moral stance. She and a pseudo-gent are out to rob a naive girl of seventeen under the thumb of a strange uncle. Then, just as the plot is unfolding as we expect, Sarah Waters flips it.

We move to Maud's point of view - and see things rather differently. By the end we are back with Sue and by changing stances we find two very differently educated girls, very much influenced by their upbringing, but definite in what they want.

There are some other good characters in this and the story, with its twists and turns, never let up, even though it's actually a long book.

My first Sarah Waters won't be my last!


message 27: by Gisela (new)

Gisela Hafezparast | 7 comments I really tried to like this book as sooooo many people seem to like it. I just didn't buy the story, partly because I think some of the historical background is just badly researched. I found the whole plot very predictable (if unbelievable) and kept waiting for the "good bit" as everybody else seemed to like it. I should have stopped half-way through, but kept on going. No comparison to Wolf Hall, Bringing up the Bodies or even The other Boleyn Girl. Made-up Victoriana is not for me.


message 28: by Kath (new)

Kath Middleton | 25093 comments Now I can't get on with Mantell. Each to his/her own, eh?


message 29: by Gisela (new)

Gisela Hafezparast | 7 comments For sure. That's the beauty of the world of books. Something for everyone.


message 30: by Rosalind (new)

Rosalind Minett | 14 comments Simon (Highwayman) wrote: "http://www.amazon.co.uk/Fingersmith-S...

I wanted to read this when I passed it briefly in Waterstones. Now I can't wait to get my hands on it. Brilliant review, Simon.

Divided into three parts, the tale is narrated b..."



message 31: by Aunty Janet (new)

Aunty Janet (janetauty) | 297 comments I had actually forgotten how long the book is! I don't mind that as I like to really 'get into' a story which obviously is rare with a short story.
I'm not particularly keen on historical stories, but the rich description really gave this story life for me and made it so memorable in other ways.


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