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Fingersmith by Sarah Waters

Fingersmith (original 2002; edition 2002)

by Sarah Waters

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
5,845216724 (4.06)1 / 1047
Authors:Sarah Waters
Info:Riverhead Trade (2002), Edition: 1st, Paperback, 582 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:British, lesbian, fiction, historical, read

Work details

Fingersmith by Sarah Waters (2002)

Recently added byfjii86, madspinner, Lesliegw, private library, Percy84, ddematthews, sunnaseeks, pirogoeth, shojo_a
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    BookshelfMonstrosity: These novels offer gothic suspense's classic creepy atmosphere, though with somewhat different story-lines. Fingersmith takes place in Victorian England while The Thirteenth Tale is contemporary, but both emphasize books, mysteries about birth and identity, insanity, and grand houses.… (more)
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English (211)  Dutch (2)  German (1)  Catalan (1)  Swedish (1)  All (216)
Showing 1-5 of 211 (next | show all)
You will be remembering this one for months after you put it down. Just seeing the cover will bring to mind some scene or paragraph where the description struck you so that you could visualize the location, or make you recall a plot twist that smacked you so that you wondered if you read the last page correctly.

I am not often stunned, shocked, or confounded by plot twists and surprises in books, but this one still made me jump, even when I expected that it was coming. In my opinion, it deserves all the praise that it gets. ( )
  mirrani | Jun 24, 2017 |
This is a glorious book, because it doesn’t go at all where you’re expecting it to go and is crammed to the brim with twists and turns. I haven’t said anything here that will spoil it for you. Waters, as ever, creates rich and believable characters: women who are by turn soft, bolshy, devious, brave and fierce. The heightened tone of the novel has more than a slight air of Gothic melodrama about it, but it’s immensely enjoyable as you find yourself facing villains who are truly dastardly, and a heroine who refuses to allow herself to be crushed by circumstances. Nor is it as overtly sensual as some of Waters’s other works, placing its emphasis on trust and loyalty rather than on lust. All in all, it’s a deliciously over-the-top tale, probably the sort of thing that would be perfect for a dark winter night and firelight (trust me to have read it in the warm days of summer)...

For the full review, please see my blog:
https://theidlewoman.net/2017/06/07/fingersmith-sarah-waters/ ( )
  TheIdleWoman | Jun 7, 2017 |
Re-read this after seeing the movie The Handmaiden, which is loosely based on it but dispenses with half the plot in favour of more girl on girl action and some gratuitous digital amputation. The film is OK but the book is a fantastic read. ( )
  LuxVestra | May 1, 2017 |
(8/10) I very much enjoyed reading this book and will be seeking out Sarah Waters' other novels to read.

It is hard review this without giving too much away but I will do my best. What I enjoyed the most about this was how cleverly it was written, it was a masterclass in atmosphere. There is not lots of action in the book and the story itself is fairly brief, what you get most of is a psychological comparison of two different girls whose lives have become entangled. It is so funny how when a book is written in the first person you are completely sucked in by the character and temporarily inhabit their deeply personal thoughts, then when you switch character and go over the same story you are left with a totally new feeling about everything. I personally preferred Sue as the most relatable of the two but to be honest both were morally questionable throughout and I was never really rooting for either of them.

I think I would need to read this again to pick up all the details in it it was just so complex and well thought out.

A dark and twisted tale of two people thrown together trying to deal with the damage inflicted on them by others and the damage they themselves inflict on other people. I am left very thoughtful after finishing it and think I should next read something with sunshine and rainbows to lighten my mood! ( )
  LiteraryReadaholic | Mar 8, 2017 |
Fingersmith, read as a Victorian Era suspense/thriller, is very good. I couldn't stop reading it. It has all of the best elements of suspense, old creepy mansions, thieves and cutthroats, and madhouses. Waters does a great job painting a picture of the underbelly of London--and also deftly illustrates the segregation between lower and upper classes, thoroughly delineating the divide through even the use of accents. I also like that there are subjects, like Victorian pornography, that defy the general conception of Victorians as buttoned-up. I think, however, that the characters suffer a little from all these myriad elements being thrust into the book. There is a lack of characterization, particularly for Maud, and the romance elements of the book seem forced, especially when compared to her other works. All in all, I really enjoyed it, but I don't know if I'd ever read it again. ( )
1 vote renardkitsune | Feb 11, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 211 (next | show all)
Queen Victoria, while accepting homosexuality in men, is said not to have been able to believe lesbians existed.

Sarah Waters sets out once again to prove Her Majesty wrong in her latest novel, Fingersmith, set - as her other two novels, Tipping the Velvet and Affinity - in Victorian London.

This is hardly niche writing - or even erotic fiction, although the few love scenes are tenderly drawn.

It is instead a tremendous read that draws the reader swiftly into the teeming life that thrived underneath the various repressions of the Victorian era.
let's just say that Dickens, the great performer of his own work, would surely have blushed to read it.
added by Ariane65 | editNew York times, Tom Gilling (Feb 24, 2002)

» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Sarah Watersprimary authorall editionscalculated
Abrams, ErikaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ascari, FabrizioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
中村, 有希Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
นันทวั… เติมแสงสิริศักดิ์Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Øverås, LinnTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bützow, HeleneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bingül, FigenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Borges, Ana Luiza DantasTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Calonge, Rosa MariaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Camp, Marion Op denTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Filat, IoanaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gawlik-Małkowska, MagdalenaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Houstrup, VibekeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
최용준Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McMahon, JuanitaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Öjerskog, MarianneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Puchalská, Barbora PungeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Retterbush, Stefaniesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ropret, AlenkaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vujičić, IrinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zulaika, JaimeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
林玉葳Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Усова, НинаTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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My name, in those days, was Susan Trinder.
"You've heard, perhaps, of my Index? ... Has there ever been its like? A universal bibliography, and on such a theme? They say the science is a dead one amongst Englishmen. ... Fantastic, when one knows the degrees of obscurity in which my subject is shrouded. ... the authors of the texts I collect must cloak their identity in deception and anonymity. The texts themselves are stamped with every kind of false and misleading detail as to place and date of publication and impress. They are burdened with obscure titles. They must pass darkly, via secret channels, or on the wings of rumour and supposition. Consider those checks to the bibliographer's progress. Then speak to me, sir, of fantastic labour!" ... "And the Index is organized --?" "By title, by name, by date when we have it; and, mark this, sir; by species of pleasure. We have them tabled, most precisely."
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Please do not combine Fingersmith the novel with Fingersmith the DVD.
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Book description
From Front Flap of the dust jacket:
"London 1862. Sue Trinder, orphaned at birth, grows up among petty thieves -- fingersmiths -- under the rough but loving care of Mrs. Sucksby and her 'family'. But from the moment she draws breath, Sue's fate is linked to that of another orphan growing up in a gloomy mansion not too many miles away.

From the celebrated author of Tipping the Velvet and Affinity-- a modern-day Charles Dickens or Wilkie Collins -- comes an extraordinary, ingenious tale of fraud, insanity and secrets."
Haiku summary
"Mrs Sucksby was a devil with her dander up."  (lizchris)

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(see all 2 descriptions)

Sue Trinder is an orphan, left as an infant in the care of Mrs. Sucksby, a "baby farmer," who raised her with unusual tenderness, as if Sue were her own. Mrs. Sucksby's household, with its fussy babies calmed with doses of gin, also hosts a transient family of petty thieves-fingersmiths-for whom this house in the heart of a mean London slum is home. One day, the most beloved thief of all arrives-Gentleman, a somewhat elegant con man, who carries with him an enticing proposition for Sue: If she wins a position as the maid to Maud Lilly, a nave gentlewoman, and aids Gentleman in her seduction, then they will all share in Maud's vast inheritance. Once the inheritance is secured, Maud will be left to live out her days in a mental hospital. With dreams of paying back the kindness of her adopted family, Sue agrees to the plan. Once in, however, Sue begins to pity her helpless mark and care for Maud Lilly in unexpected ways . . . . But no one and nothing is as it seems in this Dickensian novel of thrills and surprises. --Publisher.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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