This is one of those books where the writing is so beautiful, I feel like the writing in my review will be inadequate to describe it. If I could tell you exactly how the author achieved the effects he did, I’d be a best-selling author myself. Instead, I can only give you my impressions. The writing was very concise but every word the author used seemed meaningful and carefully chosen. The author often repurposed common words and phrases to give them fresh meanings which made me think about the world in new ways. The author also juxtaposed the poignantly sorrowful and upliftingly hopeful in a way that made my heart ache. If I haven’t convinced you to pick this up, I hope you’ll at least check out the many other rave reviews in hopes they’ll convince you instead.
It took me a while to get into Fingersmith. It was a slow moving story and the writing style took some getting used too. It could just be the setting and the fact that the main character was an orphan, but the writing reminded me of Charles Dickens. That was one of my favorite things about the book because it felt authentic, as though the main characters could actually be narrating their story. I liked the slow-burn relationship development and loved reading my first historical fiction with LGBT main characters. I didn’t love that the whole plot was just as slow to develop as the relationship. The ending, in particular, felt slow and a bit anti-climactic. I think the book was so slow in part because the writing was very rich and detailed, which isn’t a terrible trade off. I’ve read reviews where bloggers say similar things about Sarah Waters’ new book and I still plan on giving it a try.
One of the cover blurbs on my copy described Zadie Smith as philosophical and sassy at the same time and that’s exactly right. Her combination of beautiful, literary writing and down-to-earth wit was completely unique. It was also perfect for exposing the profound moments found in everyday life. I could easily see this becoming a modern classic because the story focuses on human nature in a way that I think will make the book timeless. However, the author also highlights many of the big issues of our time, including immigration and religious conflict. The ending was the only part of this book I didn’t think was perfect. The big reveal wasn’t especially surprising or profound, so I was sorry it was the focus of such a wonderfully written book.