Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Tipping the Velvet

Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters
Weight: 15 oz.
Method of Disposal: Leaving somewhere in the Metro-Atlanta area unless someone else wants it--UPDATE: GIVING TO SKYE WHO SAW IT WAS AVAILABLE ON SOCIAL NETWORKING SITE

I have such fond feelings for Tipping the Velvet. I am really not sure I am ready to let it go. This book fits into my running joke that if a piece of fiction is no good it is shelved in the gay/lesbian section of most major bookstores, and if it is good it goes straight to the fiction/literature section. I know it is not always true, but sometimes it really feels like it is—when you see Jeanette Winterson, Sarah Waters, and (sometimes) Rita Mae Brown elsewhere. I wrote about this same thing in regard to movies earlier in this blog. I am not really opposed to or in support of this way of shelving. It is just an observation. I love browsing the gay/lesbian section, the make-believe transgender section (It is labeled but never has enough books. I want more!), as it slides into the women’s (or gender) studies section. Dangerously close to Sociology, Cultural Studies, African American, Native American, and Everyone else all crammed in. Far far away from the Fiction or Fiction/Literature section.

But, (insert a heavy, lusty sigh here) Tipping the Velvet. I read it (once more)when I was fairly young. In one day. I could not put it down. I am not claiming that it is the type of book that will change the current trends in Contemporary American Fiction or that it will be taught in every first-year English course across the nation. It probably won’t change your life or your (non)relationship. It was just good fun. I loved reading it. I cared about Nancy Astley/Nan King, and I believed in her. I think I would have followed her anywhere. I too was intrigued by Kitty-- that Bitch. And even when I hated her, I felt like I didn’t really. I’d take her back if she’d have me. Read it if you are in the mood to get away for a little bit. It is beautiful, the imagery really pops, and it is sexy. At least, it is as I remember it, and I confess I don’t want to mess with a good thing by reading it again. I get so excited to even think of it.

I sought out her other novels after I finished this one, and I do have all but the most recent one. I enjoyed them too, but this one far surpasses the others. If you are looking for some lesbian fiction written by someone who has been in a workshop before, probably edited the piece before it was published, and does not pursue hilarity in situations that are just not funny then you should check out Tipping the Velvet. Let me know if you want me to send it to you.

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