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Saturday, February 7, 2009

Review: Fingersmith by Sarah Waters

I've been sitting and stewing about this review for several weeks now because I have had a hard time deciding how to review a book that has so many plot twists that it resembles nothign so much as a DNA double helix. Obviously plot summary of any length would ruin the reading experience for the three people in the world yet to read this fascinating story of two Victorian era women who prove that appearances and even perceptions can be completely deceiving. I'm sure some other reviewer before me has labelled this a tour de force and it really is so I'll just echo their rather trite sentiment. I was happily accepting of the story that our first narrator, Sue, an abandonned child whose mother was hanged for thieving and who was subsequently raised and protected from the more sordid aspects of her situation by a loose gang of petty criminals, tells us. But this is a Rashomon of novels and nothing is as it seems, with each narrator building on previous accounts, and in some cases completely and totally turning what the reader knows to be true on its head. This could have been disconcerting except that Waters handles it well and never makes the reader think that she has thrown a twist in out of the blue. We are as surprised as some of the characters as they find out the truth of their lives and who they are, different in so many ways from their original perceptions of themselves. I wouldn't call this a thriller but it is definitely suspenseful, if only because you can't wait to see what's around the next bend or laying in wait for you on the next page. This will keep you up at night, racing to finish and find out all of it, even if you are generally an early to bed person.



An excellent review - it makes me want to read the book!

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