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Tipping the Velvet


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This novel was initially suggested to me by one of my college English Literature lecturers back in
the end of 2011 - the very small class we had was introduced with an extract from the novel,
which I cannot now remember for the life of me. But, after ordering it from Amazon I began
reading, struggling to put the novel down to the stage of falling asleep holding the book, my thumb
still stuck between the pages. Of course, I'd have to read from a few pages back because I would
get so fatigued that the information didn't sink in enough for me to be able to remember it the
following morning.

Being the fan of nineteenth century literature I am, the novel appealed to me greatly. Although it
wasn't written back in the times of ****ens, Blake, Wilde and Hardy, it's the period in which the
story is set. Now, it's been a while since I've actually read the novel, so I can't really offer great
detail into the writing technique or anything else I would have examined and analysed back when
I was a student - but I can tell you how impressed I was with it.

Tipping the Velvet is the type of novel which couldn't have been written back in the nineteenth
century because of the social standards and expectations at the time. The story follows the life
of the protagonist, Nan, and her life and career in music halls. The novel is divided into three
stages of Nan's life; first is her love of Kitty Butler, the male impersonator on-stage (also known
as a Masher), while she remains an 'oyster girl' and they pursue a career together as Mashers.
However, it doesn't really work out greatly, and Nan reaches a low point in her life. While there,
in the underbelly of London, she meets a prosperous woman, Diana, who takes Nan into her home
as her 'tart', while practising domination. The third, well... I won't ruin the story for you, but it's
really prominent in showing Nan's struggle with trying to find herself throughout the novel.

The novel is slightly erotic, so I wouldn't recommend it to the younger readers out there, but it
sure as hell is a great amount better than the popular 50 Shades of Grey. It's written a lot better,
it isn't repetitive, it's an enjoyable read, and it is actually worth the paper it's printed on. (Sorry
to all you 50 Shades fans). Anyway, I rate this book four and a half stars. It's highly enjoyable,
well written and hard to put down. It's one of the very few modern books I've managed to read
the entire way through, and not once did I feel I had to plow through it.
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