⚡ Sarah Waters Affinity

Monday, November 08, 2021 12:12:52 AM

Sarah Waters Affinity

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Affinity 2008 Sarah Waters

But it is The Handmaiden that marks her first excursion on to the big screen, and she regards the ingenuity of the plotting with an almost parental delight, as the work of a younger, more playful self that the film has not so much mimicked as amplified, with its own ingenious twists and turns. My brain was young and juicy in those days and I could do those kind of things. Waters began writing fiction while waiting to hear about a grant that would have enabled her to continue on the route to becoming a career academic.

She had followed an MA in gay and lesbian historical fiction with a PhD on the idea of history in lesbian and gay writing. I think of queer as a 90s thing. She looks back fondly on its evolution. It was me finding my feet as a novelist. Tipping had lots of energy but it was very much a first novel, a bit overwritten and untidy. Affinity was me getting my skill. In The Handmaiden , pickpocket Sue and the lonely heiress Maud become Korean thief Sook-hee and Japanese Hideko, pawns in a power game that is at once sexual, mercenary and colonial, reflecting a period of Japanese occupation that still rankles in south Korea today. The dialogue is in both languages, with colour-coded subtitles to signal which is being spoken at any one time.

It is atmospherically set in a mansion which is part western gothic, part Japanese, with rooms divided by sliding paper doors through which the unscrupulous can snoop on the unwary. Like the castles of classic gothic literature, both novel and film create spaces in which the normal order can be subverted. It raises questions about power, pornography and point of view that are different from those raised by the novel. While luxuriating in inch waists cinched tight by corsets and hands softened by kid gloves, Waters is also alert to the white-rimmed blotches of sweat-stained armpits and feet battered by silk shoes unfit for walking. The film is more about colonialism: that very fraught relationship between Korea and Japan.

Prurience is held at bay by two recurrent motifs. In the film, as in the book, the key to a sexuality that is exclusive to women is the exchange of body fluids. In the novel, servant Sue inducts Maud in the art of sex, ostensibly to prepare her for her wedding night. We have updated our Privacy Policy Please take a moment to review it. By continuing to use this site, you agree to the terms of our updated Privacy Policy. Piercing the shadows of the naked stage was a single shaft of rosy limelight, and in the centre of this was a girl: the most marvellous girl - I knew it at once! Written with startling power' New… Read More. Sarah Waters is such an interesting writer, a kind of feminist Dickens' Fiona Pitt-Kethley, Daily Telegraph Set in and around the women's prison at Milbank in the s, Affinity is an eerie and utterly compelling ghost story,… Read More.

The book that inspired Park Chan-wook's astonishing film The Handmaiden. Sue Trinder, orphaned at birth, grows up among petty thieves - fingersmiths - under the rough but loving care of Mrs Sucksby and her 'family'. But from the moment… Read More.

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