Affinity (novel)

Affinity (novel)

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Affinity is a 1999 historical fiction
Historical fiction
Historical fiction tells a story that is set in the past. That setting is usually real and drawn from history, and often contains actual historical persons, but the principal characters tend to be fictional...

A novel is a book of long narrative in literary prose. The genre has historical roots both in the fields of the medieval and early modern romance and in the tradition of the novella. The latter supplied the present generic term in the late 18th century....

 by Sarah Waters
Sarah Waters
Sarah Waters is a British novelist. She is best known for her novels set in Victorian society, such as Tipping the Velvet and Fingersmith.-Childhood:Sarah Waters was born in Neyland, Pembrokeshire, Wales in 1966....

. It is the author's second novel, following Tipping the Velvet
Tipping the Velvet
Tipping the Velvet is an historical novel written by Sarah Waters published in 1998. Set in Victorian England during the 1890s, it tells a coming of age story about a young woman named Nan who falls in love with a male impersonator, follows her to London, and finds various ways to support herself...

, and followed by Fingersmith
Fingersmith (novel)
Fingersmith is a 2002 Victorian-inspired crime fiction novel by Sarah Waters.-Part one:Sue Trinder, an orphan raised in 'a Fagin-like den of thieves' by her adoptive mother, Mrs. Sucksby, is sent to help Richard 'Gentleman' Rivers seduce a wealthy heiress. Posing as a maid, Sue is to gain the trust...


Plot summary

Margaret Prior (also called "Peggy" and "Aurora"), an unmarried woman from an upper class family, visits the Millbank Prison
Millbank Prison
Millbank Prison was a prison in Millbank, Pimlico, London, originally constructed as the National Penitentiary, and which for part of its history served as a holding facility for convicted prisoners before they were transported to Australia...

 in the 1870s Victorian era
Victorian era
The Victorian era of British history was the period of Queen Victoria's reign from 20 June 1837 until her death on 22 January 1901. It was a long period of peace, prosperity, refined sensibilities and national self-confidence...

 England. The protagonist is an overall unhappy person, recovering from her father's death and her subsequent failed suicide attempt
Failed suicide attempt
Failed suicide attempts comprise a large portion of suicide attempts. Some are regarded as not true attempts at all, but rather parasuicide. The usual attempt may be a wish to affect another person by the behaviour. Consequently, it occurs in a social context and may represent a request for help....

 and struggling with her lack of power living at home with her over-involved mother despite being almost 30. She becomes a "Lady Visitor" of the prison, hoping to escape her troubles and be a guiding figure in the lives of the female prisoners. As she peers through a flap in the door, entranced by the sight of a young woman with a flower, she is reminded of a Carlo Crivelli
Carlo Crivelli
Carlo Crivelli was an Italian Renaissance painter of conservative Late Gothic decorative sensibility, who spent his early years in the Veneto, where he absorbed influences from the Vivarini, Squarcione and Mantegna...

 painting. Of all her friendships with prisoners, she is most fascinated by this woman, who she learns to be Selina Dawes, medium
Mediumship is described as a form of communication with spirits. It is a practice in religious beliefs such as Spiritualism, Spiritism, Espiritismo, Candomblé, Voodoo and Umbanda.- Concept :...

 of spirits.


  • Arts Council of Wales Book of the Year Award (shortlist), 2000
  • Ferro-Grumley Award for Lesbian and Gay Fiction, 2000
  • Lambda Literary Award for Fiction (shortlist), 2000
  • Mail on Sunday/John Llewellyn Rhys Prize (shortlist), 2000
  • Somerset Maugham Award for Lesbian and Gay Fiction, 2000
  • Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award, 2000


The novel was adapted into a screenplay by Andrew Davies
Andrew Davies (writer)
Andrew Wynford Davies is a British author and screenwriter. He was made a Fellow of BAFTA in 2002.-Education and early career:...

. A feature film based on Davies' adaptation of Affinity
Affinity (film)
Affinity is a 2008 UK film adaptation of Sarah Waters' 1999 novel Affinity; directed by Tim Fywell and screenplay by Andrew Davies.-Plot:...

premiered on 19 June 2008 at the opening night of Frameline, the San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival, at the Castro Theater.
The film was first shown on ITV1 in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

on 28 December 2008



Year Language Title
2009 Chinese 半身
2006 Dutch Affiniteit
2006 Hebrew זרעים של חיבה
2005 Taiwan 華麗的邪惡
2004 Italian Affinità
2004 Russian Тонкая работа (издательство: Росмэн-Пресс)
2004 Polish Niebanalna więź
2002 German Selinas Geister