January 8, 2002
Penguin Publishing Group
The following ISBNs are associated with this title:
ISBN - 10: 1573228737
ISBN - 13: 9781573228732
Read from the Book
Part One24 September 1874Pa used to say that any piece of history might be made into a tale: it was only a question of deciding where the tale began, and where it ended. That, he said, was all his skill. And perhaps, after all, the histories he dealt with were rather easy to sift like that, to divide up and classify—the great lives, the great works, each one of them neat and gleaming and complete, like metal letters in a box of type.I wish that Pa was with me now. I would ask him how he would start to write the story I have embarked upon to-day. I would ask him how he would neatly tell the story of a prison—of Millbank Prison—which has so many separate lives in it, and is so curious a shape, and must be approached, so darkly, through so many gates and twisting passages. Would he start it with the building of the gaols themselves? I cannot do that, for though I was told the date of it this morning I have forgotten it now; besides which, Millbank is so solid and so antique, I can’t believe that there was ever a time when it did not sit upon that dreary spot beside the Thames, casting its shadow on the black earth there. He might begin it, then, with Mr Shillitoe’s visit to this house, three weeks ago; or, he might begin it at seven this morning, when Ellis first brought me my grey suit and my coat—no, of course he would not start the story there, with a lady and her servant, and petticoats and loose hair.He would start it, I think, at the gate of Millbank, the point that every
From the Publisher
“Gothic tale, psychological study, puzzle narrative…This is gripping, astute fiction that feeds the mind and senses.”—The Seattle Times
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 on apparently innocent inmate, the enigmatic spiritualist Selina Dawes. Selina was imprisoned after a séance 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.
As in her noteworthy deput, Tipping the Velvet, Sarah Waters brilliantly evokes the sights and smells of a moody and beguiling nineteenth-century London, and proves herself yet again a storyteller, in the words of the New York Times Book Review, of "startling power."
About the Author
Sarah Waters is the author of Tipping the Velvet, a New York Times Notable Book; Affinity, which won her the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award; Fingersmith and The Night Watch, both of which were shortlisted for both the Orange Prize and the Man Booker Prize; and The Little Stranger, which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, a finalist for the Shirley Jackson Award and a New York Times Notable Book. She has also been named one of Granta's best young British novelists. She lives in London.
“Unfolds sinuously and ominously…a powerful plot-twister…a truly suspenseful tale of terror; and a piece of elegant, thinly veiled erotica. Like a Ouija board, Affinity offers different messages to different readers, scaring the shrouds off everyone in the process.”
“[Waters] displays her incredible talent for the Gothic historical novel in this splendid book about a Victorian women’s prison and the affair there between an inmate and a ‘lady visitor.’”
—San Francisco Chronicle
“Gothic tale, psychological study, puzzle narrative…superbly suspenseful…This is gripping, astute fiction that feeds the mind and senses.”
—The Seattle Times