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Publisher's Summary

'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! - that I had ever seen.'
A saucy, sensuous and multi-layered historical romance, Tipping the Velvet follows the glittering career of Nan King - oyster girl turned music-hall star turned rent boy turned East End 'tom'.
©1998 Sarah Waters (P)1998 W F Howes Ltd
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Critic Reviews

"An unstoppable read, a sexy and picaresque romp through the lesbian and queer demi-monde of the roaring Nineties. Imagine Jeanette Winterson on a good day collaborating with Judith Butler to pen a Sapphic Moll Flanders. It's gorgeous" (Independent on Sunday)
"She is an extremely confident writer, combining precise, sensuous descriptions with irony and wit. This is a lively, gutsy, highly readable debut" (Observer)
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Customer Reviews

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By T on 10-14-14

Victorian London brought to exuberant life

1888 – the eye-opening journey of an innocent teenage girl from the seaside village of Whitstable to smoky, sleazy, sensuous and bawdy London. Her crush on a performer at the local Music Hall takes her from a family making a traditional living from oysters into an exciting but scary world of the stage. The title of the book gives a clue to one aspect of this cautionary tale – it’s apparently a Victorian term for cunnilingus. This caused a stir when first published in 1998, but the book has many other dimensions and is a thoroughly absorbing view of life and love in the Music Halls of the time. Waters’ fast-flowing writing, beautifully delivered by Juanita McMahon, brings an unfamiliar, shadowy world to exuberant life. An extraordinary debut novel, very self-assured and great fun.
P.S. I am irritated to see that Audible has labelled this and Waters’ other titles as “Gay and Lesbian.” This narrow classification belies the mainstream appeal of a modern classic.

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8 of 8 people found this review helpful

By getleyartist on 06-15-15

Beautifully written.

I just love the way Sarah Waters writes. I got this as I really enjoyed the fingersmith and it did not disappoint. The language of the time is so authenticity written it's like stepping back in time. It gives a valuable insight to society in London in that era. I loved hearing about all the old music halls many of which just don't exist now. It was read really nicely by Juanita McMahon too.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By ann on 05-05-16


brilliantly written, you do not want to miss out on this experience. now that it's finished I'll be going to chapter 1 to listen eagerly again.

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By Cathie Dalliwall on 08-20-15

My favourite Sarah Waters

I love all her books but think this is my favourite - I will miss the characters as it has been such a lovely journey with them and fascinating to get an idea of life as the turn of 20th century approached.

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