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Tipping the Velvet - Sarah Waters

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'Tipping the Velvet', set in the 1880's during Victorian England, tells the coming of age story of 18 year old Nancy Astley, who is from a working class family that own an oyster restaurant. We join Nancy on her journey of self discovery, love and heartbreak as she embarks on a relationship ... Read review
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Tipping The Velvet (VMC) - Sarah Waters

Tipping The Velvet (VMC) - Sarah Waters

The heroine of Sarah Waters's audacious first novel knows her destiny, and seems content ... more

with it. Her place is in her father's seaside
restaurant, shucking shellfish and  stirring soup,
singing all the while. "Although I didn't believe
the story told to me by  Mother--that they had
found me as a baby in an oyster-shell, and a
greedy customer had  almost eaten me for
lunch--for 18 years I never doubted my own
oysterish sympathies,  never looked beyond my
father's kitchen for occupation, or for love." At
night Nancy  Astley often ventures to the nearby
music hall, not that she has illusions of being
more  than an audience member. But the moment she
spies a new male impersonator--still  something of
a curiosity in England circa 1888--her years of
innocence come to an end and  a life of
transformations begins.Tipping the Velvet, all 472
pages of it, is as  saucy, as tantalising, and as
touching as the narrator's first encounter with
the seductive  but shame-ridden Miss Kitty Butler.
And at first even Nancy's family is thrilled with
her  gender-bending pal, all but her sister, best
friend, and bedmate, Alice, "her eyes shining 
cold and dull, with starlight and suspicion". Not
to worry. Soon Nancy and Kitty are off to  London,
their relationship close though (alas for our
heroine) sisterly. We know that bliss  will come,
and it does, in an exceptionally charged moment. A
lesser author would have  been content to stop her
story there, but Waters has much more in mind for
her  buttonholing heroine, and for us. In brief,
her Everywoman with a sexual difference goes  from
success onstage to heartbreak to a stint as a male
prostitute (necessity truly  is the mother of
invention) to keeping house for a brother and
sister in the  Labour movement. And did I mention
her long stint as a plaything in the pleasure
palace of  a rich Sapphist extraordinaire? Diana
Lethaby is as cruel as she is carnal, and even the
well- concealed Cavendish Ladies' Club isn't outré
enough for her. Kitting Nancy out  in full,
elegant drag, she dares the front desk to turn
them away. "We are here," she mocks,  "for the
sake of the irregular."  Only after some seven
years of hard twists and sensual turns does Nancy
conclude that a  life of sensation is not enough.
Still, Tipping the Velvet is so entertaining that 
readers will wish her sentimental--and
hedonistic--education had taken twice as long.
--Kerry Fried, Amazon.com

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User reviews »

1-5 of 5 reviews Show most helpful reviews first Newest first

 

Tipping the velvet

AdvantagesGripping story

DisadvantagesDefinitely not for everyone

"...starting with the title as Tipping the velvet is a Victorian slang term for cunnilingus. Although this is made clear later in the story, if the reader didn't already know what it meant, they might be in for a bit of a shock. Although Nancy seems completely comfortable with her relationship with Kitty, the feeling is not returned. When a drunken man in the audience shouts abuse about being a lesbian, Kitty gets embarrassed and runs off stage. Within ..." Read review
12.07.2010

Ciao members have rated this review on average: very helpful

Community Level 8thingywhat...

thingywhatsit

TIPPING THE VELVET A LITTLE TOO FAR.

AdvantagesWell written though others are better.

DisadvantagesToo graphic.

"I have bought every book that Sarah Waters ever published based on my experience of her exquisitely detailed book "Affinity", in which her written style was clear, and detail amazingly real. This book is more well known since it has been televised, although having just read it, I can only assume that the program could never actually be true to the book, unless it is on at an adult only time, since it's attention to detail is such that it proved a ..." Read review
02.10.2006

Ciao members have rated this review on average: very helpful

Community Level 3Phildude

Phildude

Stays and staffs

AdvantagesGourgeouse read

Disadvantageshmmm cant thinkof one

"*Synopsis* This is the story of the self discovery of Nan a 1890s lesbian Oyster girl. The book tells of the coming out, loves and the losses of Nan as she leaves her Home and family in Folkestone and travels off to London with a Star act male impersonator Kitty Butler. *Review* This book is naughty but nice. A fascinating adventure through 1890s London. When I first started to read the book and the details of Nans love life and pursuit ..." Read review
14.12.2006

Ciao members have rated this review on average: helpful

Community Level 1Row26

Row26

Deliciously Naughty

AdvantagesNaughty but with plot and feeling

DisadvantagesA happy but predictable ending

"...Waters' books such as Affinity, Tipping the Velvet is more openly a lesbian novel, with the sexuality of the characters and love between Nancy and the women she forms relationships with being the main focus throughout the book. It's well written and deviously descriptive; there's love, betrayal, history, secrets, lies and deliciously naughty sex. What more could you want?! The book follows Nancy Astley a Whitstable oyster girl who, after meeting ..." Read review
20.11.2006

Ciao members have rated this review on average: helpful

Community Level 2surveysist...

surveysista1988

Tipping the Velvet - Lovely.

AdvantagesSensitively written... quite sexy.

DisadvantagesSlow writing style.

"This was the first book I ever read by Sarah Waters, though I'd already seen the BBC adaptation. The story is about Nan Astley, an 'oyster girl' from whitby. During her teens, having been thoroughly disinterested in boys her age, she goes to the local theatre and sees Kitty Butler, a male impersonator. She takes a shine to her and goes to see her every night. Eventually Kitty notices her, and after a point invites Nan to go to London with her... ..." Read review
10.06.2009

Ciao members have rated this review on average: helpful

Show all 5 reviews

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Product Information for "Tipping the Velvet - Sarah Waters" »

Product details

Author Sarah Waters
Title Tipping the Velvet
Genre Gay & Lesbian
Type Fiction
ISBN 1573221368; 1573227889; 1844080110

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Listed on Ciao since 02/10/2006

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