Affinity

Affinity 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 One Apparently Innocent Inmate, The Enigmatic Spiritualist Selina Dawes Selina Was Imprisoned After A S Ance 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

Sarah Waters is a British novelist She is best known for her first novel, Tipping the Velvet, as well the novels that followed, including Affinity, Fingersmith, and The Night Watch.Waters attended university, earning degrees in English literature Before writing novels Waters worked as an academic, earning a doctorate and teaching Waters went directly from her doctoral thesis to her first novel.

[Reading] ➺ Affinity ➰ Sarah Waters – Ultimatetrout.info
  • Paperback
  • 352 pages
  • Affinity
  • Sarah Waters
  • English
  • 26 August 2017
  • 9781573228732

10 thoughts on “Affinity

  1. says:

    Oh, Sarah Waters, the lesbian Charles Dickens Some think she s boring and I totally understand that Nothing can be mundane than flowing, ornate sentences filled with imagery strong enough to physically transport you to the setting, right And don t get me started on that gorgeous historically accurate Victorian style prose I m half asleep just thinking about her engaging plots and characters So, yeah, I can definitely see how it can be boring and how you d rather watch football or something.That was sarcasm, by the way.Okay, cutting the crap and getting down to the review Yes, there will be spoilers Affinity is about a spinster an older, unmarried woman named Margaret Prior and, boy, has life really messed her up Her father whom she loved dearly is dead, her mom is overbearing and protective and a Bible away from being the mom in Carrie, her former female lover is married to her brother and they have a child together She takes chloral every day for her emotional instability insomnia, eventually using it to aid in her suicide after the death of her father Her suicide failed, obviously, so she decided to be a Lady Visitor at Millbank prison, spending her days speaking with convicts.At the prison, she meets quirkily alluring and enigmatic Selina Dawes, a psychic medium incarcerated for a reading gone awry The two seem to be oddly attracted to one another, the nature of their meetings becoming increasingly intimate on the emotional level, you pervs Okay, okay, it was supposed to be romantic, but, ya know, jail cells aren t the most private places.Throughout the whole thing, there s an overhanging sense of dread and the entire atmosphere of the book is summed up by something isn t right here After all, Selina seems to be the real deal when it comes to mediums and definitely isn t a fraud No, ma am No way Nuh uh Never ever Totally honest Yup.Long story short, the ending is a bit of a mindfuck if you re like me and start thinking after you finish a book, as opposed to during.A handful of other reviews claim that they didn t care for the character of Margaret Prior, or that they were angry because she was impressionable, weak, and lacked a backbone I can assume that these people have also never suffered through the trials of uncontrollable bouts of depression, anxiety, self identity crises, or any other emotional disorders They probably have thriving social lives and aren t afraid of things like spiders or airplanes This isn t a bad thing, so be glad that your mental health is squeaky clean and you can t relate to a hopeless and miserable character I, on the other hand, am utterly neurotic, so Margaret and I got along like two people at an A.A meeting To understand her actions, you had to have been familiar with her state of mind Her obsessiveness and anxiety so mirrored my own, and that was probably the most frightening part of the book.You see, Margaret s weakness is what drove the plot Her infatuation and vulnerability is what kept her coming back to Selina time and time again The way she desperately latched onto her and put her on a pedestal as basically her saving grace was beautiful in itself.Speaking of their relationship, let me talk about that for a bit It was adorable, in my opinion At first, you re really convinced that this is a genuine type of love and that two people truly found each other at a miserable time in their lives and are now destined to defeat the odds and get married and gain weight and watch reality shows together, happily ever after But this isn t Nicholas Sparks this is a Victorian lesbian dark paranormal anguish filled melodrama, and it wants you to be sad.All in all, this book was fantastic The plot twist was intricately crafted, almost to an absurd degree It contained almost everything I m interested in, which consists of the paranormal, social stigmas, mental instability, Victorian England, betrayal, superb prose, and lesbians.

  2. says:

    In reading the gothic psychological novel Affinity, it is nearly impossible to shake off an overwhelming feeling of gloom and pervasive dread Following a failed suicide attempt, a young lady visitor named Margaret Prior develops a relationship with an inmate named Selina Dawes in a Victorian women s prison, and both their lives are forever changed by their acquaintance.Narrated in alternating chapters by the two very different women, this dark, moody story incites fear, melancholy, and terrible pity As always, with this author s work comes a thoroughly researched story and a compelling look at women in oppressive circumstances, as well as how their limited choices often lead to desperate attempts to control their own destinies There s also an erotic undercurrent of forbidden attraction running deep in this novel as Margaret finds herself increasingly drawn to the mysterious Selina Dawes, who has been imprisoned for a spiritualist reading gone horribly wrong Their subtly blooming attraction is heightened by the misery of the contrast with Selina s living conditions at Millbank Prison an actual London prison, by the way , and it s a certainty that in Margaret s desire to save Selina, she is also desperate to save herself And what will your sister do if her husband should die, and she should take another Who will she fly to then, when she has crossed the spheres For she will fly to someone, we will all fly to someone, we will all return to that piece of shining matter from which our souls are torn with another, two halves of the same It may be that the husband your sister has now has that other soul, that has affinity with her soul I hope it is But it maybe the next man she takes, or it may be neither It may be someone she would never think to look to on the earth, someone kept from her by some false boundarySarah Waters writes in dense, elegant prose and tells stories that unfold with exquisite deliberation Affinity is similar to The Little Stranger, in that there are such evocative, spine chilling moments including a particularly vivid one involving view spoiler dripping wax and a dimpled baby s arm O hide spoiler

  3. says:

    As seen on The ReadventurerIt is almost impossible to say anything about the plot of Affinity without spoiling something, so I ll refrain from recapping A wealthy, depressed old maid starts visiting a women s prison and quickly finds herself taken by an inmate, a young spiritualist that s all you need to know.Let s talk about feelings instead This sense of emptiness and despair I am left with is so overwhelming right now, that it leads me to believe I might have liked Affinity even than Fingersmith I would go as far as to say what I feel now is pretty close to what I felt after finishing The Blind Assassin.This novel is very strong as a horror laden supernatural mystery the level of suspense and foreboding is very high, but what it conveys even better is the suffocating atmosphere of oppression, repressed sexuality and thinly veiled eroticism and longing for the forbidden As a woman of the now I have never experienced such a feeling of being completely powerless first hand, but Sarah Waters made me feel all of this for her Victorian heroines Not many contemporary writers can portray this very time and class specific environment It s hard to top Edith Wharton But Waters accomplishes it marvelously.

  4. says:

    I absolutely adored this Sarah Waters is such an incredible writer and fast becoming one of my favourites The plotting is brilliant, the themes fascinating, the historical world building spot on, and the charactisation impeccable Would highly recommend

  5. says:

    Sarah Waters, at this stage, must be the accepted queen of Victorian Gothic lesbian melodrama not, I imagine, that there is much competition for this title, but I think it s a deserved one nonetheless.In many ways, the plot of Affinity is like that of the other work of Waters that I have read, Fingersmith Crime and Victorian punishment, repression and sexuality and psychology, all feature heavily in both books Affinity, however, is a much satisfying novel for me While it, too, hangs on some often surprising twists of coincidence, these twists are orchestrated by an intelligence that is much subtle and convincing, to my mind, than the occurrences in Fingersmith I found those to be much too Dickensian, and I loathe Dickens And while, admittedly, I never came to feel terribly attached to and moved by Margaret and her plight she was a little too detached, and her fate a little too obviously signposted she was undoubtedly a well drawn character.The real achievement of the book, though, is the sense of period and atmosphere and mood it has When I closed the book, I had the strongest desire to open all the windows in the room, because I needed sunlight and wind, after spending so long in the airless world that Waters created It s rare any that a book has that effect on me, so I do think that this is one that I will be re reading and savouring.

  6. says:

    I have said it before, I will say it again I cannot fathom how Sarah Waters does it, how she can draw the reader into this entirely other world, this other period, time, place, complete immersion Even something simple like the protagonist Miss Prior s afternoon in The Spiritualists Reading Room instantly conceived for me a dim, smoky, velvet lined library where she learns the secrets of her true love affinity s case Genius I honestly do not typically care for the paranormal stories, but under the guidance of Waters, a pretty great read With the unexpected ending, I admit I did not like it, but then again, I guess it was good, in that way only great writers can have me appreciating an otherwise unacceptable 180 In my opinion, the author better have a damn good reason as well as some damn good transitioning with foreshadowing for these endings Selina Dawes What a character She had me good I will say that I guess I was not paying attention, so enraptured by Waters writing, I was At least that is what I say I feel like I should have seen it from a million miles away Her story was very interesting, although I do wish there was detail, insight into her childhood In fact, I felt like the center of the story told was quite intense, extremely well told, even a little long, but could have used insight into Miss Prior Aurora s history, both before after As for the Spiritualism, ghosts, seances, readings, etcetera, I actually really liked reading these aspects of the novel, appreciating Waters obvious research into the themes Oh, Sarah Waters, how I love thee.

  7. says:

    Gah I can t do this It s so slow and just so boringSo DNF from me

  8. says:

    Sexy, Spooky, Stylish that s the blurb on the cover If I was not a Sarah Waters fan already, I would have picked up the book based on those words How can you resist a book with that description After reading the book, I can safely say that those words are an accurate description of Affinity I will further add to that Haunting and magical It seems, I have been reading many deliciously gothic novels recently Well, I am not complaining Affinity is yet another addition to my love for anything gothic Sarah Waters, who is considered the Queen of Victorian Gothic novels , churns out yet another winner.Margaret Prior suffers a complete mental breakdown, following her father s death A failed suicide attempt breaks her even further She lives with her domineering mother and a sister, who will soon be married Margaret feels jealous because she thinks, by marrying, her sister will somehow evolve while she will remain stagnant She s constantly under her mother s watchful eyes and is treated like an imbecile Her former lover, Helen, is now married to her brother a fact that she is still unable to get over Margaret is a repressed, closed up young woman with no hopes for the future.In order to forget her painful past, she becomes a lady visitor at Millbank Prison Her job is to talk to the women prisoners, listen to them and guide them towards a positive direction She s drawn towards one particular prisoner, Selina Dawes, a spiritualist and a psychic medium, who has been imprisoned for assaulting one of her clients.When you love an author a lot, you tend to develop gigantic expectations from all of that author s books, which is probably unfair I have not been very subtle about my love for Sarah Waters Fingersmith and The Little Stranger are not only my favorite books by her, but are also my all time favorites as well Perhaps my expectations were very unrealistic In the beginning I felt a little deflated Don t get me wrong The beginning was compelling enough to keep me reading on, but it was just not up to the admittedly unrealistic standards I have set for Sarah Waters novels However, this feeling did not last long as the book soon picked up and I was hooked Affinity is told from both Selina s and Margaret s perspectives The reader feels as fascinated by Selina as Margaret is Yet, she still remains an enigma, a mystery throughout the book The story unfolds slowly, with each chapter pulling you in completely.Selina is viewed as a charlatan, a fraud and a cheat But the time spent talking to her each day convinces Margaret of her truth Moreover, there are some strange, extraordinary events which provide further proof of Selina s powers With each meeting, the magnetic pull , which Margaret feels towards Selina intensifies, leading towards the ultimately shocking conclusion We are the same, you and I We have seen cut, two halves, from the same piece of shining matter Oh, I could say, I love you that is a simple thing to say But my spirit does not love yours it is entwined with it Our flesh does not love our flesh is the same I deeply felt for Margaret I felt her frustration and how repressed she was I can understand how suffocated she felt under her mother s constant nagging One of the most powerful aspects of Affinity is the setting and the atmosphere the author creates Millbank prison is like a character in itself the author s descriptions of the prison is so vivid that you can feel the prisoners predicament in the controlled and suffocating environment Margaret s longing for Selina, the unspoken but intense forbidden emotions and her unhappiness is heartrending and hits you hard It is as if every poet who ever wrote a line to his own love wrote secretly for me, and for Selina My blood even as I write this my blood , my muscle and every fibre of me, is listening, for her When I sleep, it is to dream of her When shadows move across my eye, it is to dream of her, I know them now for shadows of her My room is still, but never silent I hear her heart, beating across the night in time to my own.Margaret s stark despair and misery really got to me My heart was breaking for her all throughout Sarah Waters has an incredible ability to make you care so much for the characters that they almost become real people to you.Selina s descriptions of her life as a medium and her ability to contact spirits is so real and even mesmerizing, that you believe her without questions or skepticism Her conversations with the spirits and her experiences creeped me out quite a bit It unnerved me and fascinated me at the same time.Like most of author s other novels, Affinity has females as the main protagonists and is set in the Victorian era In addition, the author has eloquently tackled subjects like repression, sexual awakening and spirituality Three are several feminist elements as well The author, very subtly, raises questions about a woman s place in the society Why do gentlemen s voices carry so clearly, when women s are so easily stifled Margaret, though technically a free woman, is still a prisoner to her gender, to her circumstances and to her mother s wishes Women are bred to do of the same that is their function It is only ladies like me that throw the system out, make it stagger The ending is probably the best part of the book I am still reeling from the shock of the end It was so unexpected I doubt anyone could have seen it coming To say I am impressed is an understatement.Like every other Sarah Waters books, Affinity will remain with me for a long time to come If I had not read any other books by this author, it would have been a 5 star read for me Affinity, in my opinion, is not her best, but still a fantastic read Sarah Wates lyrical writing makes every book worth it.Now I just have two books by Sarah Waters to read and then begins the long painful wait for her next book I believe I can gobble up all of Sarah Waters books in one go and yet be hungry for of her brilliance.

  9. says:

    Generally, I don t pick up random books at Barnes and Noble that I don t already know a little about However, I made an exception with Affinity because it intrigued me so I come to find out that was a pretty costly mistake Firstly, the book dabbles in the supernatural psychics world which I already hold a serious distrust for However, I thought this book might present the spiritual medium s world in a light that s a little pretty and entertaining No, instead I still feel oddly at ends with the character Selina, who is a medium in jail for a crime relating to her seances This distrust grows and grows until the climax of the book where it tops off as disdain, ending with me disgusted with the main character a delicate woman by the name of Margaret.Secondly, I disapprove of the frailty of women back before the turn of the century This book is entirely devoted to a main character who can t deal with situations with a level head or a rational outlook Instead she is swayed by every emotion possible, sometimes resorting to drugs to deal with her horrible headaches She faints at every instance, feels ill any time there s confrontation and tends to side with her romantic view of people which ends up costing her dearly I disapprove of her melancholy methods of dealing with her grief and I also disapprove of her inability to assert herself or read people truthfully Thirdly, the book is developed slowly and very wordy Pages are drawn out in a way that s neither enticing or beautiful, but lengthy and boring I felt as if I was pushing over words to get the point towards the end of the book The character s a built for chapters and chapters, and I disapproved of the somewhat lesbian relationship that developed, not because it consisted of two females but because it was stupid and based on nothing substantial Margaret needed SOMETHING to cling to and it ends up being an incredibly stupid thing for her to do More proof that delicate, unsteady women prove to be dumb in the end On a nicer note, I awarded this book two stars because it DID catch my attention towards the end after the climax Although I already knew the ending because I could read through the character s emotions straight to the facts and the proper villains I was frantically turning pages at the end hoping to get to the final conclusion, proof that my speculations were correct As they were.

  10. says:

    Sarah Waters sets the atmosphere of this early on Does gothic always take place at an old mansion hidden in fog No, here it is Millbank prison on the banks of the Thames River Let s not forget the spirits that we can expect in a gothic novel certainly Sarah Waters has not.To Millbank It is only a week since my last visit, but the mood of the prison has shifted, as if with the season, and it is a darker and bitter place now, than ever The towers seemed to have grown higher and broader, and the windows to have shrunk the very scents of the place seemed to have changed, since I last went there the grounds smelling of fog and of chimney smoke as well as of sedge, and the wards reeking of nuisance buckets still, of cramped and unwashed hair and flesh and mouths, but also of gas, and rust, and sickness There are great black, blistering radiators at the angle of the passages, and these make the corridors very airless and close.This is written in series of journal entries by the two main characters They do not alternate, but are interspersed The chapters are dates, and from this is easily understood from whose journal we are reading In this way, not only is the story told a story, which as it progressed was and compelling but also the characters are developed I said elsewhere that sometimes first person narratives are not always reliable Let me just admit that I am gullible I really like books where there are a couple of sentences that give context for the title Who will she fly to then, when she has crossed the spheres For she will fly to someone, we will all fly to someone, we will all return to that piece of shining matter from which our souls were torn with another, two halves of the same It may be that the husband your sister has now has that other soul, that has the affinity with her soul I hope it is But it may be the next man she takes, or it may be neither.And I looked only at her, heard her voice only and when I spoke at last, it was to ask her this How will a person know, Selina, when the soul that has the affinity with hers is near it I have read just one other by Sarah Waters Fingersmith Her prose is interesting neither does it rely on simple sentence structure and vocabulary, nor is it so convoluted that the reader is lost along the way You can depend on an LGBT focus in the main characters, but without being hit over the head with it The characters are what they are, the story line and characterizations make no attempt to convince the reader that life is unfair because of sexual orientation Life may be unfair, but isn t it so in some way for everyone This title is less well known than her others, but I think it should be otherwise Another 5 star read for me I m on a roll.

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