Friday, January 29, 2010

Read the Book/See the Movie: Fingersmith - Sarah Waters (Kindle)


I've read The Little Stranger and Night Watch, both by Sarah Waters, and was mesmerized. And everyone that has reviewed Fingersmith has been mesmerized. So there were some high expectations involved here, and I was a little nervous. Not to worry, however. From the moment I sat down to read Fingersmith, I was dumbstruck. I was infatuated. I was stunned. The intrigue! The plot twists! The writing! The Victorian atmosphere! I needed resuscitated when I was finished.

Nymeth (Things Mean Alot) says that the first rule of The Fingersmith Club is that you shan't talk about it. And I understand why, I do. It is a house of mirrors. But I at least need to say enough to lure people to read it. So I shall be brief.

Susan Trinder has been raised her entire life in Victorian London by a ragtag group of thieves assimilating a dysfunctional family. One day, a thief acquaintance arrives at their door, proposing a scheme. He and Susan will befriend a young heiress, Maud Lilly (Susan will become her maid, he will become her boyfriend). He will marry Maud, and they will make off with her money, and commit her to an insane asylum. But as they will, things don't go quite as planned. And there I will stop. Have I protected the goods? I think so.

Waters is a master. She could make tax code interesting with her brilliant storytelling and her compelling prose. This story is riveting and beautiful and haunting. It made such an impact on me, I couldn't walk away from it just yet. I had to see the movie, a BBC production.

*********

The movie was a BBC production, with a running time of 3 hours. Most of the actors are unknown, with two exceptions. Mrs. Sucksby is played by Imelda Staunton, who is delightful as always. Susan is played by Sally Hawkins, a British actress best known for her lead role in Happy-Go-Lucky. The casting, based on my mind's eye, worked well (Susan could have been just a wee bit cuter, but there you go. She had a rough life, after all.) The writers of the screenplay and director are obviously Waters admirers, as the production is very true to the story...there was no embellishment for the sake of a thrill. The sets were magnificent, depicting the beauty of the gothic Briar estate, and the squalor of inner city London.

Did I like it? I did, immensely! However, if you've read anything by Waters, you know the beauty of her story lies within the words and the writing. I'm not sure any movie ever adapted from a Waters novel could ever quite have the same...essence. If you are a fan of the story, though, you won't be sorry.

Book: 5 out of 5 stars
Movie: 4 out of 5 stars

34 comments:

Melody said...

Seems like I'm the last person to read this book! But fear not, I've it in my pile! :D

I didn't know there's a movie on this book. Will have to try to look for the disc!

Susan said...

OMG! Will you stop adding books to my TBR list?!! I'm never going to get to them all! I've never read this author, but see her all over the place in the book blogs. Your review was just enough to get me hooked, but not enough to give anything away.

I love BBC productions! They just know how to do it better. And I love Imelda Staunton...have you seen her in 'Cranford'? One of my favorite Masterpiece Theatre series. It doesn't hurt that Judi Dench is one of the leads either!

Molly said...

I simply must find more hours in my day! I have Fingersmith but just have not had time to read it. But this review makes me want to take a personal day, stay home, and read it all day long!

I had no idea there was a BBC film adaptation. I love movie sets that accurately dipict the streets of Victorian London. Perhaps I will be able to include this pairing for C. B.'s challenge later this year.

JoAnn said...

What?? Fingersmith was made into a movie? I'm off to Netflix...

Beth F said...

I am also one of the few people who haven't read the book. I stopped reading your review after "don't talk about it"! I'll read the book (someday) and will come back and read your review then.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I haven't read this book either, but it sounds like I must, since I often try to come up with such a scheme for me and my husband.

Alice Teh said...

An author who "could make tax code interesting" as you've said, is one that I must read as soon as possible. I've heard so many good things about Waters and her books. I'm kicking myself for not having any of her books yet. Need to rectify that soon.

theludicreader said...

We read Fingersmith for my book club a couple years back (my pick and I won best book!)It's a fantastic book- everything a book should be...well written, entertaining, thoughtful. And I thought they did a pretty good job with the BBC production, too.

Anna said...

I haven't read any of Sarah Waters' books, but I did buy The Night Watch recently. I'll read that one first, but you've succeeded in making me curious about Fingersmith!

--Anna
Diary of an Eccentric

Diane said...

I liked this book a lot, and also enjoyed Tipping the Velvet by Waters (I did see the movie of Velvet and thought it was well done.

Julie P. said...

I really need to give Sarah Waters a try!

The Bumbles said...

Never heard of it! Or maybe I did and passed it over because I heard talk of Victorian times? I am not one for historical fiction in that era. I'm not sure I'll get to this one.

Carrie K. said...

I really do have to read something by Waters- soon!

Literary Feline said...

Ooo! I'm so glad to hear that you enjoyed this one, Sandy. As you may know, I plan to read this at some point this year. Hopefully soonish. Soonish being relative. :-)

I hadn't known there was a movie so I appreciate the heads up. I'll definitely be watching that after I finish the book.

Kathleen said...

I just got this one from the library last Saturday. I really hope that I don't have to return it before I have a chance to read it! Your review has made me want to read it even more!

A Bookshelf Monstrosity said...

"She could make tax code interesting with her brilliant storytelling and her compelling prose."

Now THAT is an endorsement!

Trisha said...

I am so happy to read this. I have Fingersmith waiting on my TBR shelf and the film in my Netflix queue. The book and film are going to be my "day after vacation relaxing" activities.

Iliana said...

This has got to be my next Sarah Waters books. I keep "seeing" it everywhere and I think I need to take that as a sign right? :)

Alyce said...

I just added this to my wish list after reading your review. Somehow I have missed reading about this book online, and you have piqued my curiosity. I want to know what happens! :)

Jenners said...

I have "Fingersmith" to read this year too so I kind of skipped the rest after your "Fight Club" analogy! I want to experience it for myself.

stacybuckeye said...

I want to read this one, even more thanks to you :) Not sure the movie is a must see for me.

Hazra said...

I just finished this book, and I'm still wondering how to write the review without letting essential plot details go, and yet talk about how much I loved the book.

farmlanebooks said...

I have watched all the BBC adaptations of Sarah Waters books and they are all fantastic. I watched Fingersmith before I'd heard of Waters and loved it. It was the reason I started to read her books. I was worried about reading the book when I already knew the plot, but as you say her writing is fantastic and the book was so much better so I loved it anyway.

Dar said...

I've been hearing so much about Sarah Waters books lately that I'm going to have to read one. I didn't realize though that movies had been made of any of her books.

Lisa said...

Okay so book first then movie? I've been wondering where to start with Waters; seems like this is a great place to do that.

Michele at Reader's Respite said...

This is one of those books that has languished, unread, on my shelf for years. I've got to pick it up and start reading!

Amused said...

Wow I didn't even know there was a movie - can't wait to see it now!

Nymeth said...

I'm so glad to hear you liked both the book and the BBC adaptation! This probably sounds silly, but the fact that I love the book so much had me scared to watch it, in case they butchered it :P But it sounds like they didn't.

C.B. James said...

Glad to see you're having fun with the Book/Movie challenge. I may be more inclined to watch this one than to read it, myself. Sounds like a good time in either case.

We should find another book/movie project sometime soon. I'll have a review of Under The Dome up soon and couldn't help seeing how much it has in common with Blindness.

Zibilee said...

I guess great minds think alike! I read this one and immediately wanted to watch the movie, which I did. I thought that both were fabulous though I did slightly prefer the book. I fear that I may have read the best Waters first though as it would take a hell of a book to live up to Fingersmith. I am looking forward to reading more of her work though, and hoping with crossed fingers that it's just as exciting and memorable!

gnoegnoe said...

*pssssst!* Did you read Wilkie Collins' The Woman in White? I was shocked when I read that -- after I had first enjoyed Waters' Fingersmith...

I *think* I also saw the bbc television series of Fingersmith but I can't really remember much about that.

Melissa said...

I have this one on my must read list for 2010, but I didn't know there was a movie of it.

Amy said...

I haven't read any of Sarah Waters books yet but I am planning to read several of them very soon! Thank you for the reminder and for the push to get to it!

So glad you enjoyed this book!
~ Amy

laytak07 said...

IN LOVE! Totally with this book and movie..its like, I cant stop going back reading it! Lol 'tasting" a favorite line..wonderful! :)