Last year when I asked for lesbian fiction suggestions, one friend highly recommended Sarah Waters' Tipping the Velvet
. I'd heard of Tipping the Velvet
, but it never sounded interesting to me, and inlovewithnight
had just read it, and the things she didn't like about it
(spoilers in her post) made me think I wouldn't like it either. Then the friend who recommended it gave me a copy for my birthday, with the note that even if I ended up not liking it, she thought I should own it.
I took the book - and nothing else to read - with me when I went for jury duty in March, and read the first 48 pages while waiting to be called to a courtroom. Then it went back into the stack of unread books. When I was on vacation in August, I saw a recommendation for it in an independent bookstore that said the sex scenes were hot, so yesterday I finally went back to it and flipped through to find just those parts. One of them is hot, and the others are okay.
I didn't like the book for basically the same reasons I didn't think I was going to: first, because I don't like literary fiction, and secondly, because I don't like historical fiction about queer characters based on real history. I think it's the literary fiction aspect that was the most annoying one to me in this book; nothing in the world can make me care about that much detail about oyster-parlours. Yesterday's skim of the rest of the book somewhat allayed my fears about it as historical fiction; the bad things that happen to Nan aren't quite as dire or as historically-bound as I would have been anxious about. I did pretty much laugh at the ending, though, in which ( spoilers. )
Anyway, a lot of people have loved Tipping the Velvet
, and the writing in the part I read wasn't bad in a technical sense, so if it sounds like your sort of thing, you might like it. If you dislike the kinds of things I dislike, you probably won't like it.
It's been almost a year since my friend gave me the book and I've made a sincere effort to read it, so I feel justified in getting rid of it now. If anyone wants my copy, let me know. If no one claims it in a week, it's going on PaperBackSwap.