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Affinity by Sarah Waters

Affinity (1999)

by Sarah Waters

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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2,8761223,020 (3.74)270

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English (118)  Dutch (2)  Portuguese (1)  French (1)  All languages (122)
Showing 1-5 of 118 (next | show all)
This was so wonderfully written that I cried at the horrifyingly cruel ending.
Serve Community
William James MEOW Date: Sunday, July 15. 12014 H.E. (Holocene Era) ( )
  FourFreedoms | May 17, 2019 |
The setting is London in the year 1874. Margaret Prior, a young woman from a wealthy family, has decided to become a “Lady Visitor” to the women’s ward at Millbank Prison. She is a deeply unhappy person, grief-stricken by her father’s death and bristling under life with her overbearing mother. The hope is that her charity-work will help with her recovery from a suicide attempt.

Margaret meets with the usual thieves and prostitutes but is particularly drawn to an enigmatic prisoner named Selina Dawes. Selina, she learns, is a spiritualist serving time after her last séance resulted in the death of her benefactress. Margaret gradually becomes obsessed with Selina and convinced of her innocence. As we read her increasingly desperate journal entries, we see Margaret cast the young woman as her savior, and herself as Selina’s.

Sarah Waters’ characters do silly things, selfish things, and even cruel things. But there is usually some redeeming quality that stops me from hating them entirely. Unfortunately the main character here is such a dipshit that I could not bring myself to care about her. At all. Just a disclaimer here, I do understand what a serious condition depression is. However, Margaret is the kind of person who wants everyone to be as miserable as she is. For instance, she insists on wearing mourning clothes at her sister's wedding. That has nothing to do with depression and everything to do with being a bitch.

I also disliked that the story boiled down to belief vs. skepticism. Either you think Selina is the real deal, or you think she is a con artist and spend the entire book waiting for the big reveal. Waters tries to keep it ambiguous by including excerpts from Selina’s own journal, but I found these passages unnecessary as well as illogical. Margaret never reads this journal. It was not presented at Serena’s trial, otherwise there would be no doubt about her guilt. And for God’s sake, if you are a con artist, why would you write your secrets down where anyone could read them? I guess Affinity itself is like a magic trick: depending on how cynical you are, you will see only what you want to see, and that will determine whether you see the ending coming or not. ( )
  doryfish | Mar 6, 2019 |
This was so wonderfully written that I cried at the horrifyingly cruel ending.
Serve Community
William James MEOW Date: Sunday, July 15. 12014 H.E. (Holocene Era) ( )
  ShiraDest | Mar 6, 2019 |
I could never do this book justice with a review. All I WILL say is that AFFINITY broke my heart. I went through several tissues and my heart skipped a few beats through some of the twists and turns the novel took.

( )
  booksandcats4ever | Jul 30, 2018 |
Interesting Victorian pastiche mystery concerning a lonely woman, virtually imprisoned as the spinster daughter who must care for her mother. She becomes a prison visitor to do Good Works and meets a woman who's serving time for fraud and assault as a spirit medium. We read diary entries that reveal clues about each woman's past and what turns into an obsession. Interesting stuff about spiritualism in the 19th century and a suspenseful story with well drawn characters. ( )
  piemouth | Jul 25, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 118 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Sarah Watersprimary authorall editionscalculated
Abrams, ErikaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ascari, FabrizioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
中村有希訳Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Carlsson, Irja M.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fernandes, IsabelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gawlik-Małkowska, MagdalenaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ghersini, TeodoraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Retterbush, StefanieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sørensen, Henrik EnemarkTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zulaika, JaimeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
林玉葳Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Сафронова, АлександраTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
אינגה מיכאליTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Affinity ( [2008]IMDb)
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To Caroline Halliday
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I was never so frightened as I am now.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Set in and around the women's prison at Milbank in the 1870's , AFFINITY is an eerie and utterly compelling ghost story, a complex and intriguing literary mystery and a poignant love story with an unexpected twist in the tale. Following the death of her father, Margaret Prior has decided to pursue some 'good work' with the lady criminals of one of London's most notorious gaols. Surrounded by prisoners, murderers and common thieves, Margaret feels herself drawn to one of the prisons more unlikely inmates - the imprisoned spiritualist - Selina Dawes. Sympathetic to the plight of this innocent-seeming girl, Margaret sees herself dispensing guidance and perhaps friendship on her visits, little expecting to find herself dabbling in a twilight world of seances, shadows, unruly spirits and unseemly passions.
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Margaret Prior, assigned to visit the women's ward of Victorian London's Millbank prison as part of her rehabilitative charity work for a suicide attempt, is drawn into a dark romance with spiritualist Selina Dawes who has been jailed after a seance she was conducting went horribly wrong.… (more)

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