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Affinity by Sarah Waters

Affinity (original 1999; edition 2002)

by Sarah Waters

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2,472982,481 (3.74)218
Authors:Sarah Waters
Info:Riverhead Trade (2002), Paperback, 368 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:British, lesbian, historical, fiction, read

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Affinity by Sarah Waters (1999)


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English (95)  Portuguese (1)  Dutch (1)  French (1)  All languages (98)
Showing 1-5 of 95 (next | show all)
Sarah Waters is one of my favourite authors, but I found this book very hard to finish. (I managed it, after three or four previous attempts.) There are some clever twists, but not the level of intricate detail Waters achieved with Fingersmith. There are hints at romance, but none of the passion or bawdiness of Tipping the Velvet. A sense of mood and atmosphere are established, yet not as effectively as in The Little Stranger. But the overarching problem, as a modern reader, is the difficulty of suspending disbelief when faced with 19th century relics such as spiritualism and séances. A disappointing novel, when set against Waters' high standards. ( )
  whirled | Dec 3, 2014 |
The first two thirds of Affinity reminded a great deal of The Snake Pit by Mary Jane Ward, a novel from the point of view of a woman in a sanitarium recovering from a nervous breakdown. But by the middle of second act, as Margaret Prior researches mysticism, the blandness of her life and the lives of the inmates begins to reveal pent up emtions. Under the guise of communion with the "spirits" Affinity spirals into a story filled with sexual tension, intrigue and madness. I was so caught up in Margaret's emotions that I completely missed Selena's devious playing of all the people in her life to ultimately win her freedom and prove in the process that she really did deserve her sentence in Millbank! ( )
  pussreboots | Aug 10, 2014 |
Plot: 3 stars
Characters: 2 1/2 stars
Style: 2 stars
Pace: 2 stars

Well, the ending was better than I'd expected it to be. That's about the only thing that saved this from a 2 star rating. I was bored through most of it. Partly, I'm not a fan of epistle/diary style stories. They lose a lot of tension, because no matter what happens, you know they'll live/be free to write the next diary entry. And other than about 2 moments, I had a hard time feeling the romance. It just felt flat for me. Ah well. ( )
  Jami_Leigh | Jun 22, 2014 |
The last time I started this book, I couldn't get into it and ended up setting it aside for something else. Aparently this was a much better time for this book. The first 30 pages or so I was skeptical. After that I was sucked in to the point where I could barely wait to read more. The gothic tale of Margaret, the damaged spinster daughter, and Selina, the imprisoned spiritualist psychic, was so rich, detailed and complex and compelling. Waters writes beautifully, and I could visualize and, more importantly, feel every scene as it took place.

There were many emotional twists and turns as Margaret visited the prison, interacted with her mother and became enamored with Selina. The class and gender constraints were so well-depicted that I could feel myself straining against them. It was, at times, hard to read of a bright, curious and different young woman who after her beloved father's death was written off and stifled by everyone around her. Add the stigma against lesbianism, and poor Margaret was destined to have bouts of suicidal madness. I'm certainly not a person who romaniticizes previous eras and longs for 'simpler times'. This book reminded me why.

I've spent a little time thinking about the reviews that described this as slow-moving or overlong while I wish there had been at least another 100 pages. Recently I watched the TV show 'True Detective' with a family member. He found it frustrating and bloated while I loved it. We've been talking a lot about how this may be a product of my love of storytelling for its own sake while his enjoyment of fictional books and movies is largely plot-driven. I think that difference between readers/watchers may be a part of why there are such disparate experiences of Affinity.

This is likely to be one of my favorite books of the year. ( )
  nancyewhite | May 14, 2014 |
i felt like it could have been half the length and had a much greater impact. there was too much build-up, making the ending fall flat. not as good as fingersmith or tipping the velvet, but an okay read nonetheless. ( )
  foblove86 | May 10, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 95 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Sarah Watersprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Waters, Sarahmain authorall editionsconfirmed
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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