Author: Sarah Waters
Published: 1999; Pages: 352
Genre: Literary Fiction
Affinity In Short: Margaret Prior, a troubled young woman who is heavily grieving her father, begins visiting woman prisoners at the jail and becomes particularly interested in Selina Dawes who is known for her work with spirit mediums. The story is told through Margaret’s narration in the future and Selina’s narration in the past.
What You Wanted to Know:
Was this your first Waters? If not, how did it compare to others that you have read by her? If so, what did you think of her writing? (Kailana)
I’m mostly drawn to Sarah Waters because of her writing style, atmospheric settings, and strong character developments. The two books I’ve read have been set during Victorian times (maybe all of them are?), and I find that era to be very fascinating. I hate to say that I did not like this one quite as much as Fingersmith, but I think that’s because I was constantly in a state of anticipation of what was coming next.
Did you find all the different elements packed into the story believable? (A medium, a woman’s jail, etc.) (Kailana)
I’m not sure how much I believe that a young woman could just hang out at the jail and visit with the inmates, but I also don’t know much about Victorian prisons. The medium parts were really fascinating to me, but I admit that I had a tough time wrapping my head around some of the spiritual parts, especially involving Peter Quick.
Did you enjoy Affinity? It had such a totally unexpected ending for me that it left me feeling very melancholy. (Picky Girl)
I did enjoy the book as a whole. My biggest downfall when reading this one is that it took me about two months (maybe more) to read so I never felt like I was completely drawn into the story like I was with Fingersmith. There’s something to be said about reading too quickly and too slowly! I can understand the melancholy feeling, but mostly I felt a little let down by the ending because it wasn’t what I expected or wanted.
So, Affinity–is it a good one to start with if I haven’t read any Sarah Waters yet? (Debi)
As Lisa mentions below–do you want to build up to the best or read the best first? More importantly than where to start is that you DO! Waters’ writing is really wonderful. She has the ability to draw you right into the story and see everything that is happening and surrounding and all that the characters are feeling (I know this kind of contradicts what I said above but…)
I’ve got Little Stranger; have you read that one? I’m curious as to how it compares to Affinity. I have heard some people say that it’s the best one, in which case I’d like to build up to it and maybe start with Affinity. (Lisa)
I haven’t read Little Stranger but will definitely be reading more of Waters. Not sure where I should go from here. Tipping the Velvet? Or something newer?
Sam wants to know what I thought of the ending, and other than the hint above in my comment to Jenn, my lips are sealed. Ha!!
Bottom Line: Overall I found Affinity to be a fulfilling read, even if the end did leave me a tad bit unsatisfied. Perhaps because I saw the story going one way and was kind of surprised when it didn’t. Funny how that works out, huh? Margaret wasn’t the most likeable character; she was a little on the weak side–which suits the book exactly. But my fascination with Selina and the spirit medium story definitely kept me intrigued. If you haven’t read any Waters, I definitely recommend her!
Which is your favorite Waters?
Trying something new…
On the Blog:
One Year Ago – The Countdown Begins: One Month to Go
Two Years Ago – Blog Changes: Massive Overhaul of the Bookish Kind
Three Years Ago – Sunday Salon 1: Introducing Trish
Four Years Ago – The Other Boleyn Girl by Phillipa Gregory