I’ve been reading Fingersmith by Sarah Waters bit by bit for the last several months. I read the first 60 pages early in the year, then set it aside until April. I made the effort to read a few pages every day, and then last night, I was completely drawn in, and I stayed up to finish the final 150 pages.
What a beautiful book. I don’t want to give away the plot, because there are some very good plot twists that I didn’t see coming (and I would have hated to have them ruined for me). But as I was finishing the book, I glanced at the review blurbs on the back cover. Near the end of the blurb from The Guardian, the reviewer wrote that one of Ms. Waters’ talents lies in the fact that the novel feels “less like reading, more like living.” And that phrase really stuck with me as I finished the book. It’s one that I agree with. As I read, I really felt like I was experiencing everything Sue and Maud felt and experienced. So often, characters in novels cannot live outside of the pages of the book. I don’t think that is true at all of this novel. Sue and Maud, and the cast of supporting characters, felt quite real to me.
That’s not to say that this book is perfect. It’s not. There are points where the plot does drag, and it’s easy to walk away from the book. But the plot twists make the slow spots worth enduring. I didn’t know what to expect when I began reading the book, other than a Dickensian environment. I’d read the blurb in 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die, but I didn’t remember too much about it once I actually began reading the book. And I found that it really enhanced my reading experience with this book by not having any prior expectations.
Has anyone else read this book? If so, what did you think of it? I’d love to know whether others were as drawn in by the plot twists as I was.
My official review of Fingersmith will probably come sometime in the next few days.