Sarah Waters has a time machine (or is a member of the undead)

Reading Sarah Waters inspires me, and also makes me want to put my head in the washing machine. For anyone who writes, reading a really good author, specifically one who has managed to perfect a certain, desired skill, is torture. Blissful, awful, torture. What pushes my jealousy buttons is how utterly believable Waters is, whether she is channelling a doctor in post-war Warwickshire (The Little Stranger), with language and social conventions of the time, or a young girl in the criminal underworld of 1860s London (Fingersmith).


I have decided for Waters to write so believably about more than one time period, she is a) a vampire, and so has lived through many ages, and presumably kept detailed notes the entire time. Or, b) she has some kind of Tardis, and is really a time traveller, and that would really annoy me as to be a writer that practically lives on the Booker List, and also has a time machine, is totally unfair. I also suspect she may be sharing this time machine with a few other people who are annoyingly good, such as Hilary Mantel.

Or, less glamorously, she spends ages researching, and maybe loves it as much as writing. I know I do, sitting at a desk with paper, pencils, source books, a laptop, or taking field trips to visit settings or meet experts. And in my case, shamelessly delaying the moment when research should end, and writing start.

I haven’t seen the BBC adaptation of ‘Fingersmith’ yet, but it has Imelda Staunton in, so I definitely will.

fingersmith mrs Sucksby