Book #89: Fingersmith

Oh man.

Oh. Man.

For as much as I didn’t have anything to say about Christ Stopped at Eboli, I’m afraid that I’m not ever going to be able to stop talking about Sarah Waters’ Fingersmith.

I want to rave about it and scream about it from the rooftops so that everybody reads it.

Perhaps a more fitting title for Fingersmith would be “What?! No!” because that’s what I found myself saying repeatedly.

Fingersmith is a Dickensian-type story about con men (and women) and thievery that is riddled with plot twists and absolute shockers. I wouldn’t recommend reading it before bed, because there are all sorts of crazy what?! NO! moments that happen roughly every 60-70 pages. One night I accidentally stayed up until 3 am reading because there was an insane plot twist and I had to stay up and keep reading. And then I was so freaked out about what I read that I still couldn’t sleep because I couldn’t stop thinking about it. It was great.

Fingersmith is about Sue Trinder, an orphan who was raised by Mrs. Sucksby – a “baby farmer” who takes in abandoned children and sells them to people looking for children. Sue is raised to be a “fingersmith,” a petty thief who roams the streets of London stealing valuables and reselling them for profit – think Fagin and the Artful Dodger and their gang in Oliver Twist. When Gentleman, an “honorable” con man, comes to Mrs. Sucksby’s house with a brilliant con, Sue is tapped to help.

A young gentlewoman named Maud Lilly is in need of a new personal maid. Miss Lilly lives with her uncle in an isolated country house, and Gentleman has plans to woo her, marry her, commit her to an insane asylum, and make off with her inheritance. Sue will help convince Maud to fall in love with Gentleman and make sure the plot goes off without a hitch.

That’s the basic plot, but Fingersmith goes off in all sorts of CRAZY directions, until you’re not sure what’s going on. It’s crazy.

And I love it. I can’t remember the last time I’ve had so much fun reading a book. I literally could not put it down. I want to buy copies for everyone I know, give them to them, sit them down, and make them read it. I will watch them read it so that I know they are actually reading it.

I recommend this book to everybody. EVERYBODY. I need someone to talk to about it. So read it. It will go fast because you won’t be able to put it down. You’ll be shocked.

I guess I should also add this disclaimer (that’s only a tiny spoiler compared to the HUGE turns this story will take): there might be some lesbian undertones. But don’t let that be the whole plot. People on Goodreads are all, “IT’S LESBIAN DICKENS!!!!” That’s true. There are some lesbians. But that’s not at all the sole focus of the book.

Read it. Read it, read it, read it. And then freak out to me in the comments.

Rating: *****
Up Next: Call It Sleep


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