Tipping the Velvet

Tipping the Velvet

Book - 2000
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Nancy Astley, a fishmonger in Whitstable, becomes smitten by male impersonator Kitty Butler and attends shows until the star notices her, which leads to the two becoming partners in romance and performance until societal pressures drive the two into situations that embrace the ambiguity of sexual preference and gender roles.
Publisher: New York : Riverhead Books, 2000
Edition: 1st Riverhead trade pbk. ed
ISBN: 9781573227889
Branch Call Number: FICTION WATERS 2000
Characteristics: 472 p. ; 21 cm


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Chapel_Hill_KenMc Apr 16, 2015

Waters's first novel, from 1998, is a wonderfully inventive project that manages to combine several literary traditions in one engrossing adventure tale. It's part Victorian novel, part erotic romance, part picaresque. Imagine Dickens writing "50 Shades of Grey." Set in late-nineteenth-century London, the plot follows the lifestyle changes of a working-class woman who finds herself on the music hall stage as a "masher" (male impersonator), in love with her female stage partner, but unable to live openly. Degradation and tragedy follow, before a rousing and heartwarming resolution. The only flaws may be that the plot drags a bit at times, and perhaps we see a bit more than we want to of our protagonist's bedroom adventures. Very sexually explicit, this is not for anyone squeamish in that regard.

Maybea Jul 04, 2012

The only other Sarah Waters I've read is Little Stranger, which I thought was amazing. This was only pretty good for me. I skimmed from time to time as it felt a bit clunky and slow. I found the main character to be shallow, thought I'm not sure if that was done on purpose ?

cjperry Apr 17, 2011

I agree with ErinHood on this one. "Fingersmith" was one of the most sensual books I had read, and Waters definitely has a way with words, but "Tipping the Velvet" is sort of second-rate in comparison. Good escapist read, and definitely worth the time if you like the style, but don't expect too much.

Feb 12, 2011

It's a sturdy book, told in a pleasing way, but when you read one Sarah Waters book... the subsquent ones give the reader less each time. She rarely explores new emotional ground, rendering her books a bit formulis. While they have different tones, and each an underlying structure of suspense, if you want something with more depth, something that pulls and stretches you to consider humanity and human nature each time, Winterson is your lady.


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Chapel_Hill_KenMc Apr 16, 2015

Chapel_Hill_KenMc thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over


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