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Fingersmith (2002)

by Sarah Waters

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
7,8622871,135 (4.05)1 / 1184
Growing up as a foster child among a family of thieves, orphan Sue Trinder hopes to pay back that kindness by playing a key role in a swindle scheme devised by their leader, who is planning to con a fortune out of the naive Maud Lilly.
  1. 201
    The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins (wonderlake, teelgee)
    teelgee: Definitely see where Sarah Waters got her inspiration!
  2. 110
    Affinity by Sarah Waters (Booksloth)
  3. 112
    The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber (starfishian, Booksloth, YossarianXeno)
    YossarianXeno: Both rollicking reads covering the more seedy aspects of life in 19th Century London
  4. 72
    The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield (Alialibobali, BookshelfMonstrosity)
    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)
  5. 40
    The Passion by Jeanette Winterson (kaionvin)
  6. 41
    Slammerkin by Emma Donoghue (rich_as_a_queen)
  7. 30
    The Talented Mr. Ripley / Ripley Under Ground / Ripley's Game by Patricia Highsmith (charlie68)
    charlie68: Also a series of stories of the anti-hero.
  8. 52
    A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick (teelgee)
  9. 20
    She Rises: A Novel by Kate Worsley (JoEnglish)
  10. 20
    The Observations by Jane Harris (wandering_star)
  11. 10
    The Dark Lantern by Gerri Brightwell (Electablue)
  12. 10
    Wildthorn by Jane Eagland (blacksylph)
  13. 10
    The Night Watch by Sarah Waters (withwill)
  14. 10
    Summit Avenue by Mary Sharratt (Anisland)
  15. 10
    Great Expectations by Charles Dickens (charlie68)
  16. 00
    The Asylum by John Harwood (HollyMS)
  17. 00
    Church of Marvels by Leslie Parry (Electablue)
  18. 22
    Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke (themulhern)
    themulhern: Books set in an historical English and evoking the writers of that time.
  19. 00
    After Mrs Hamilton by Clare Ashton (Charmella1)
  20. 11
    The Book of Human Skin by Michelle Lovric (Cecilturtle)

(see all 24 recommendations)


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» See also 1184 mentions

English (276)  Dutch (2)  Spanish (1)  French (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Swedish (1)  Catalan (1)  German (1)  All languages (284)
Showing 1-5 of 276 (next | show all)
from The Guardian:

So much for openers. Waters's breakthrough into the mainstream came in 2002 with Fingersmith (more Victorian slang - for a pickpocket, and also a midwife - gravid with sexual innuendo), which was shortlisted for both Orange and Man Booker. Kate Mosse, bestselling author of Labyrinth and Sepulchre, says: "It's contemporary Gothic, something few writers - contemporary or classic - ever pull off." A year later, in another critical coup, she was nominated for Granta's fashionable top 20, the Best of Young British. Other critics have noticed that Waters also takes inspiration from Angela Carter, Philippa Gregory and AS Byatt. Mosse again: "Her research is lightly worn, but utterly trustworthy, and she has an authenticity of historical voice that never falters. She's never showy, yet her writing is rich and inventive, the stuff of treats."

Fidelis Morgan, who writes the Countess Ashby de la Zouche series (The Rival Queens, Fortune's Slave, etc) and also transforms racy historical research into ripping yarns, notes that "Fingersmith is an intoxicating novel with a twist so astonishing it made me gasp aloud. The clever part is that it makes you have to rewind the whole book and reassess each character." Another powerful advocate for Waters's writing, the novelist Philip Hensher says she has made "a great link between the secrecy of queer sexualities and the secrets and revelations of the Gothic tradition. I think she's a big feminine novelist in the large-scale English ensemble tradition of Rosamund Lehmann, Elizabeth Bowen and especially Elizabeth Taylor." http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2009/may/10/books-sarah-waters

  featherbooks | May 7, 2024 |
Extremely suspenseful, twisty, really good novel about a band of thieves and a host of secrets. It will keep you guessing until the end. it's the kind of book you want to re-read immediately after you finish. ( )
  bostonbibliophile | May 5, 2024 |
Excellent plot and marvelous writing. The switched identities of the principal characters are cleverly done and the plot line is intricate. The allusion to a "Dickens" style of novel is an apt one. The book is a bit longer than it needed to be, but well worth the read. The BBC series, available on Youtube and "The Handmaiden" on Prime video, are based on the book. I had previously read 'The Night Watch" by Waters and found it excellent also. ( )
  stevesmits | Apr 11, 2024 |
Review: Fingersmith by Sarah Waters. 4* 08/30/2023

This was a well-written book. I liked the character's developments and the organization of the story. As far as the content of LGBT romance, set in the Victorian era, a scam artist, prison, and a lot of twists and turns throughout the book. The author describes Victorian London with its dark moments and Gothic atmosphere. I thought the dialogue between characters was really good and convincing. The author also concentrates mainly on the plot which admittedly is very strong.
I also like some of the secondary characters such as "Gentleman" and Mrs. "Sucksby". Their roles in the story were so creative and enhanced the story delightfully. There were so many events happening page after page that I didn't want to put the book down. I read over some pages twice to make sure I didn't miss something. Sarah Waters is a great historian writer and a mastermind of creativity when writing her stories. ( )
  Juan-banjo | Mar 2, 2024 |
Big "what the fuck did I just read" energy. I thought this was going to be dark, and it started that way before going for some soap opera twists which nevertheless worked for me. Wish the guy (Richard Rivers) didn't have such a prominent role; he pushes the leads so hard to betray each other that it ends up feeling like it's his fault entirely, when I'd like them to have both been a little worse people. But I was very happy with the ending. ( )
  soudai | Feb 14, 2024 |
Showing 1-5 of 276 (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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To Sally O-J
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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 2005 TV mini series.
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Growing up as a foster child among a family of thieves, orphan Sue Trinder hopes to pay back that kindness by playing a key role in a swindle scheme devised by their leader, who is planning to con a fortune out of the naive Maud Lilly.

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