wilderthan: ((Books) Open book)
[personal profile] wilderthan
I don't really know how to start reviewing this book! I definitely enjoyed it. It's a little dense, sometimes, but it's not really all that slow-moving -- I suppose some stories might get the first one hundred and fifty pages out in a chapter, but Tipping the Velvet isn't boring about it. I did get a little stuck reading it, at one point, but that was mostly because I guessed something bad was about to happen, and I didn't really want it to happen.

So, you might guess that I grew to care about the characters. I definitely did, although they're not the kind of characters that stick in your mind forever and ever -- I thought the same thing when I read Fingersmith, which is also by Sarah Waters. I think it was a bit better in Tipping the Velvet.

It's still hard to see it as purely historical fiction -- impossible, even, given the number of sex scenes that, if not exactly pornographic, aren't skimpy with details either. I can see why people think of Sarah Waters as a lesbian writer. I found it a little difficult to believe that there were so many lesbians in Victorian times. But then it was pointed out in a lecture when I studied Dracula that we tend to think of the Victorians as much more prim and proper than they actually were, so I don't know... I found some of it over the top, anyway -- not so much Florence and the other 'toms' nearer the end of the book, but definitely the Sapphist society that make such a pet out of Nancy.

Some of the descriptions are very good, particularly some of the early ones where Nancy is beginning to fall in love with Kitty. Most of the characters are reasonably realistic -- I find Kitty's intentions of hiding her relationship with Nancy very convincing, for example. Sometimes I wish someone would introduce her to subtlety -- some of the foreshadowing didn't so much hint as what was going to happen as take a big stick and hit one round the head with it.

Of the two books I've read by Sarah Waters, Tipping the Velvet is the more fun. It's a little over the top, maybe, but quite bright and colourful and vivid, even at Nancy's darker moments. The plot is less tightly wound -- in Fingersmith, everything has to happen just so, so that the scheme falls into place, while Tipping the Velvet is appropriately a little more rambling, more like real life.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-07-19 08:47 pm (UTC)
dalehead: (Default)
From: [personal profile] dalehead
I am a huge Sarah Waters fan, I think she's brilliant. The Night Watch is terribly disturbing but I would definitely recommend it and her new one, The Little Stranger, is completely different from her other books and completely terrifying, I couldn't read it at night *g*

(no subject)

Date: 2009-07-19 09:02 pm (UTC)
dalehead: (Default)
From: [personal profile] dalehead
I didn't get on with Affinity strangely enough. I might give it another go!


wilderthan: (Default)

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