Dedicated to classics and hits.

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Fingersmith (2002) by Sarah Waters

Book Review
Fingersmith (2002)
by Sarah Waters

  I was reading the Kindle version of this book (511 pages) on my Samsung Galaxy 8 at the same time I was listening to the audio book of Cryptonomicon on the same device- which means just using my phone I was able to read/hear over 1600 pages of text in a little over a week.  Reading Fingersmith on my phone made me brutally aware that the Ebook format is not particularly good for book much over 400 pages long.   Reading using the Kindle app on a smartphone is best for public places and in between moments when one might otherwise be looking at a phone.  Reading a 500+ page book, on the other hand, requires multiple sessions of focused attention- for me we are talking about  about 5 hours, and for an average reader it is more like 10 hours.  That's tough to chisel out on a smartphone without getting distracted.  I ended up having to spend most of a Saturday afternoon reading a book on my phone, earning me some puzzled looks from my partner, who assumed I was playing a video game for much of that time.

  Format issues aside, I quite enjoyed Fingersmith, which is a type of revisionist historical novel in the mode of Charles Dickens or Wilkie Collins, about an orphan girl from the Cockney East End of London, recruited by "Gentleman" a debonair con-man, to swindle a supposedly unsophisticated woman out of her fortune.   To the surprise of no one, nothing is as it seems, and the reader is treated to an enjoyably familiar romp through 19th century England, where the sex and violence has been written back into the story.   Waters was already a known commodity when Fingersmith was published, but Fingersmith was a hit, and brought her to the attention of a wider, general audience.  Fingersmith, despite the length, is light enough to recommend as a good book for a beach read, and given the length you certainly want to get the paperback edition. 

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