They Make a Good Pair

fingersmith womaninwhite

 

Fingersmith by Sarah Waters, and The Woman in White by Willkie Collins

Sarah Waters’ brilliant novel about thieves and swindlers in Victorian London has a Dickensian feel, but it is also a clever and pointed homage to Collins’ mystery novel. The parallels between the two books are clear, but Fingersmith never feels derivative.

 

gesualdo jessold

 

Charles Jessold, Considered As A Murderer by Wesley Stace and Gesualdo: The Man and His Music by Glenn Watkins

Stace’s novel is a fascinating meditation on the relationship between artistic creation and an artist’s real life. Although set in early 20th century London, it draws heavily on the life of sixteenth century Italian composer Carlo Gesualdo.

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