Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Affinity - The rest of the review

Me and my husband carpool to work. Since we have the luxury of being only a few miles apart when at work, and working the same hours, he drops me off in the mornings and comes to get me after work.

This agreement gives me about a half an hour reading time after work and before he calls to inform me he's there. I love that half hour, because once I'm home I need to do a million things and reading seems like a luxury.

Today, however, he had to work overtime and I spend almost 2 hours reading. I finished my book after 1 hour and hadn't counted on this misfortune to carry a spare one. Extremely annoying.
But the moral of this being, I finished the book.

And I was AMAZED!! 
Affinity  is a splendid novel. It resembles one of those very good movies, like Gone with the wind (of which the novel is wicked awesome also) which start out so slowly and with so much information but it all comes together beautifully in the end.

The ending is superb and even though I had clues there might be some misschief in the workings, I hadn't thought it out so clearly as it was.
I have already posted some ideas and questions about the novel before, while I was reading it.
Now that I'm done, I'm filled with so much emotion I can't stop thinking about the novel.

Someone on Goodreads named Sarah Waters the queen of gothic historian lesbian fiction, and while she is all that, her prose doesn't feel that way. You don't get the feeling you're reading lesbian fiction, although you must be blind to not see the distinct difference between her descriptions of women and men. Men have been ushered into the supporting role and this whole novel is being carried by very strong female characters.

First of all, Margaret and Selina. Yin and Yang. One couldn't be great without the other. The way the two women interact, get to know each other and ultimately depend on each other is phenomenal. You, as reader, live through it together with them. Slowly, by the entries in their diaries, you get to know both the woman better than is comfortable.

Other strong characters, are the wardens of the prison, especially Mrs Jelf. She's too kind to work in that place and is easily influenced by the women she is responsible for, which leads to terrifying results.

I'm torn between telling you more about the plot, and letting you reveal it on your own. I'll thread the fine line between a good review and plain spoilers carefully, hoping not to fall off. But to be sure, the rest of the review is for those who've read it already, or those who don't mind a spoiler or two.


As my first half of this review said, Margaret has some secrets she hadn't yet revealed to us readers.
She has once given up on life, after her father died and her best friend married her brother, but was brought back. Selina picked up on this and drained it for all it was worth.
She tries to influence Margaret to believe in her, to help her and once Margaret says yes, she shows typical predator behaviour.

From experience I read the signs of the sudden lack of touching each other on Selina's persistence, as a sign she wasn't truthful. Once she had accomplished what she wanted, she drew back.
From then on, I knew she wasn't to be trusted and for a long time I actually tried to believe in the spiritual world of ghosts, just in case.
Margaret helps her escape, not by letting her out of prison but assuring a safe passage. A way out of England and to Italy. Little did she know that all along her maid and Selina worked behind her back to take her identity and escape.
When Mrs Jelf comes to her house, after the escape of Selina, she suddenly realises the awful truth. She is desperate and only sees one way out.

I don't know how I feel about Selina. She seems to be quite honest at first, maybe a little naive, but her actions tell otherwise. Or is it the influence of Vigers? Still so many questions.. that's why I love this book so.

For me this is a MAGNIFICENT read.