9781573228732

Affinity

Waters, Sarah

ISBN 10: 1573228737 / 1-57322-873-7
ISBN 13: 9781573228732
Publisher: Riverhead Trade
Publication Date: 2002
Binding: Softcover
Editorial Reviews for this title:
Synopsis:

“Gothic tale, psychological study, puzzle narrative…This is gripping, astute fiction that feeds the mind and senses.”—The Seattle Times

An upper-class woman recovering from a suicide attempt, Margaret Prior has begun visiting the women’s ward of Millbank prison, Victorian London’s grimmest jail, as part of her rehabilitative charity work. Amongst Millbank’s murderers and common thieves, Margaret finds herself increasingly fascinated by on apparently innocent inmate, the enigmatic spiritualist Selina Dawes. Selina was imprisoned after a séance she was conducting went horribly awry, leaving an elderly matron dead and a young woman deeply disturbed. Although initially skeptical of Selina’s gifts, Margaret is soon drawn into a twilight world of ghosts and shadows, unruly spirits and unseemly passions, until she is at last driven to concoct a desperate plot to secure Selina’s freedom, and her own.

As in her noteworthy deput, Tipping the Velvet, Sarah Waters brilliantly evokes the sights and smells of a moody and beguiling nineteenth-century London, and proves herself yet again a storyteller, in the words of the New York Times Book Review, of "startling power."


Review:
Affinity is a tale of power and possession that Henry James himself might admire. In her first novel, Tipping the Velvet, Sarah Waters explored secrets and longing--capping off this lesbian romp with a utopian-socialist vision. Her intricate follow-up is just as sensual but infinitely darker, its moral more difficult to descry. Its stylistic and psychological rewards, however, are visible at every turn, the author's persuasive imagination matched by her gift for storytelling.

In late September 1874, Margaret Prior makes her way through the pentagons of London's Millbank Prison, a place of fearful symmetry and endless corridors. This plain woman on the verge of 30 has come to comfort those behind bars, several of whom Waters brings to instant, sad life. And our Lady Visitor plans to take her role dead seriously, having recovered from two years of nervous indolence in her family's Chelsea house. One person, however, makes her job a passion. Opening an inspection slit (or "eye" as these devices are known), Margaret hears "a perfect sigh, like a sigh in a story." Peering inward, she's confronted by the most erotic of visions--a woman turned toward the sun, caressing her cheek with a forbidden violet: "As I watched, she put the flower to her lips, and breathed upon it, and the purple of the petals gave a quiver and seemed to glow..."

Selina Dawes may indeed have the face of a Crivelli angel, but this medium is in for fraud and assault, her last session having gone very badly indeed. Suffice it to say that the first full encounter between these two very different women is enthralling. "You think spiritualism a kind of fancy," Selina riddles. "Doesn't it seem to you, now you are here, that anything might be real, since Millbank is?" And soon enough Margaret receives several viable signs of the supernatural: a locket disappears from her room, flowers mysteriously appear, and her dazzling friend knows everything about her. Strangest of all, Selina seems to love her.

As Margaret records her weekly prison forays, her own past comes into focus, notably her plans to travel to Italy with her first love (who is now her sister-in-law). But her current journal, she convinces herself, is to be very different from her last one, which "took as long to burn as human hearts, they say, do take." Meanwhile, Waters offers a narrative two-for-one, placing Margaret's diary cheek by jowl with Selina's chronicle of her pre-Millbank existence. This dispassionate, staccato record initially suggests that we can separate truth from desire. Or can we? What Waters's haunting creation leaves us with is a more painful reality--that knowledge and belief are entirely different things. --Kerry Fried

Review

Editorial reviews may belong to another edition of this title.
 

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Affinity (ISBN: 9781573228732)
Waters, Sarah
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Book Description: Riverhead Trade. PAPERBACK. Book Condition: New. 1573228737 Visiting a grim London prison as part of rehabilitative charity work, an upper-class woman recovering from a suicide attempt is drawn into the Victorian world of enigmatic spiritualist and inmate Selina Dawes and is persuaded to help her escape. By the author of Tipping the Velvet. Reprint. Bookseller Inventory # 4164999

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Book Description: Riverhead Books, United States, 2002. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. 142 x 126 mm. Language: English Brand New Book. Gothic tale, psychological study, puzzle narrative.This is gripping, astute fiction that feeds the mind and senses. -- The Seattle Times An upper-class woman recovering from a suicide attempt, Margaret Prior has begun visiting the women s ward of Millbank prison, Victorian London s grimmest jail, as part of her rehabilitative charity work. Amongst Millbank s murderers and common thieves, Margaret finds herself increasingly fascinated by on apparently innocent inmate, the enigmatic spiritualist Selina Dawes. Selina was imprisoned after a seance she was conducting went horribly awry, leaving an elderly matron dead and a young woman deeply disturbed. Although initially skeptical of Selina s gifts, Margaret is soon drawn into a twilight world of ghosts and shadows, unruly spirits and unseemly passions, until she is at last driven to concoct a desperate plot to secure Selina s freedom, and her own. As in her noteworthy deput, Tipping the Velvet, Sarah Waters brilliantly evokes the sights and smells of a moody and beguiling nineteenth-century London, and proves herself yet again a storyteller, in the words of the New York Times Book Review, of startling power. Bookseller Inventory # ABZ9781573228732

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Affinity (Paperback) (ISBN: 9781573228732)
Waters, Sarah
ISBN 10: 1573228737
ISBN 13: 9781573228732
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Bookseller Rating: 5-star rating
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Book Description: Riverhead Books, United States, 2002. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. 142 x 126 mm. Language: English Brand New Book. Gothic tale, psychological study, puzzle narrative.This is gripping, astute fiction that feeds the mind and senses. -- The Seattle Times An upper-class woman recovering from a suicide attempt, Margaret Prior has begun visiting the women s ward of Millbank prison, Victorian London s grimmest jail, as part of her rehabilitative charity work. Amongst Millbank s murderers and common thieves, Margaret finds herself increasingly fascinated by on apparently innocent inmate, the enigmatic spiritualist Selina Dawes. Selina was imprisoned after a seance she was conducting went horribly awry, leaving an elderly matron dead and a young woman deeply disturbed. Although initially skeptical of Selina s gifts, Margaret is soon drawn into a twilight world of ghosts and shadows, unruly spirits and unseemly passions, until she is at last driven to concoct a desperate plot to secure Selina s freedom, and her own. As in her noteworthy deput, Tipping the Velvet, Sarah Waters brilliantly evokes the sights and smells of a moody and beguiling nineteenth-century London, and proves herself yet again a storyteller, in the words of the New York Times Book Review, of startling power. Bookseller Inventory # ABZ9781573228732

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Book Description: Paperback. Book Condition: New. 132mm x 23mm x 203mm. Paperback. An upper-class woman recovering from a suicide attempt, Margaret Prior has begun visiting the women's ward of Millbank prison, Victorian London's grimmest jail, as part of her re.Shipping may be from multiple locations in the US or from the UK, depending on stock availability. 351 pages. 0.295. Bookseller Inventory # 9781573228732

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