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The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters

The Little Stranger (2009)

by Sarah Waters

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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3,7132761,408 (3.6)1 / 754

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Showing 1-5 of 264 (next | show all)
I think I had tried to read this before and just couldn't sit still to get started. I must have been in the right mood this time and finished this swiftly and really enjoyed it! ( )
  Iambookish | Dec 14, 2016 |
Perfect Gothic. She is a brilliant writer. ( )
  Juliasb | Dec 1, 2016 |
Although the plot is much less intricate than Sarah Waters' earlier novels, like Fingersmith, and the pacing is slow, Little Stranger is still thoroughly engrossing. After a slow start, I was drawn in and eager to know what would happen next in the terrible house of Hundreds Hall and in characters' lives. As always, Sarah Waters' prose is beautiful, and her language is carefully chosen and well suited to reflect the time period she writes in. She creates three-dimensional characters who live beyond the limited picture of them the narrator sees, and her book is an excellent example of how to write a male narrator who holds period-appropriate paternalistic attitudes towards women without actually presenting the women of the novel as sexist caricatures. ( )
  csoki637 | Nov 27, 2016 |
Good but I can't rave. Lots and lots of set-up with kind of a limp pay-off. But meticulously written and an interesting portrait of post WWII England. ( )
  laurenbufferd | Nov 14, 2016 |
It's no Fingersmith. Let's get that out of the way right away, because that's Sarah Waters's best-known and probably best-loved book (I actually prefer Affinity, but I'm weird that way).

Having said that, if you've liked and enjoyed Sarah Waters's books before, I think you will like this one. I loved it. It's a little slow getting started--the vaunted ghost doesn't appear until about a third of the way through the book--but it's very absorbing and I was hooked by the end of the first chapter. I thought Waters did a great job creating a creepy atmosphere--I thought her descriptions of the house, which is almost a character itself, were particularly well-done--and I thought Caroline and Faraday were quite well-characterized. The characterization of Faraday has to be quite subtle, because the book is framed as a story he's telling about other people, and I really admired the skill with which Waters handled this.

I've seen some complaints that the book isn't creepy enough, but I thought it was extremely creepy--maybe because I was reading it late at night with only a lamp for light--but it was creepy enough that it invaded my dreams last night. And the last chapter! I don't want to be too spoilery, but the last few paragraphs made me want to reread and reevaluate the events of the rest of the book.

I don't think it's as twisty as Fingersmith, and I still think the story of Affinity was more original. But I still really liked this book and would highly recommend it. ( )
  gayla.bassham | Nov 7, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 264 (next | show all)
While at one turn, the novel looks to be a ghost story, the next it is a psychological drama of the calibre of du Maurier's Rebecca. But it is also a brilliantly observed story, verging on comedy, about Britain on the cusp of the modern age.
In the end, though, however fresh the prose, confident the plotting and astute the social analysis, The Little Stranger has a slightly secondhand feel to it. Waters is clearly at the top of her game, with few to match her ability to bring the past to life in a fully imagined world. I look forward to the book in which she leaves behind past templates, with their limitations, and breaks away to make her own literary history.
I guess the Waters fans I spoke to were right to be anxious. There is plenty of lovely writing here, and the plot wasn't so dissatisfying that it put me off entirely. But it made me wary. Should I be? Or is it her worst work? Or, indeed, am I missing something? Over to you.
The Little Stranger, like all the best works of postmodernist fiction, acknowledges both that making up stories is a mistaken and hopeless way to try to understand the world, and at the same time that it’s the best – perhaps the only – way we have.
The story ends in madness, suicide and a creepy darkness reminiscent of Daphne du Maurier's "Rebecca" -- mixed with jolts of anxiety and social upheaval reminiscent of today's news.

» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Waters, Sarahprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
中村有希訳Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bartocci, MaurizioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bützow, HeleneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Borges, Ana Luiza DantasTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Defossé, AlainTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dewey, AmandaDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gawlik-Małkowska, MagdalenaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Groen, NicoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ho, AndreaCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kwakkel, RichardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Leibmann, UteTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Puchalská, Barbora PungeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rooijen, Lucie vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ropret, AlenkaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Trevillions, MichaelCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vance, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zulaika, JaimeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
林曉芳Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Сафронова, АлександраTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To my parents, Mary and Ron, and my sister, Deborah.
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I first saw Hundreds Hall when I was ten years old.
I'd regularly heard her referred to locally as 'rather hearty', a 'natural spinster', a 'clever girl' - in other words she was noticeably plain.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
A chilling and vividly rendered ghost story set in postwar Britain, by the bestselling and award-winning author of The Night Watch and Fingersmith.

Sarah Waters's trilogy of Victorian novels Tipping the Velvet, Affinity, and Fingersmith earned her legions of fans around the world, a number of awards, and a reputation as one of today's most gifted historical novelists. With her most recent book, The Night Watch, Waters turned to the 1940s and delivered a tender and intricate novel of relationships that brought her the greatest success she has achieved so far. With The Little Stranger, Waters revisits the fertile setting of Britain in the 1940s — and gives us a sinister tale of a haunted house, brimming with the rich atmosphere and psychological complexity that have become hallmarks of Waters's work.

The Little Stranger follows the strange adventures of Dr. Faraday, the son of a maid who has built a life of quiet respectability as a country doctor. One dusty postwar summer in his home of rural Warwickshire, he is called to a patient at Hundreds Hall. Home to the Ayres family for more than two centuries, the Georgian house, once grand and handsome, is now in decline — its masonry crumbling, its gardens choked with weeds, the clock in its stable yard permanently fixed at twenty to nine. But are the Ayreses haunted by something more ominous than a dying way of life? Little does Dr. Faraday know how closely, and how terrifyingly, their story is about to become entwined with his.

Abundantly atmospheric and elegantly told, The Little Stranger is Sarah Waters's most thrilling and ambitious novel yet.
Haiku summary
Strange happenings at
Hundreds Hall: poltergeist or
Rational answer?

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One dusty postwar summer in his home of rural Warwickshire, Dr. Faraday is called to a patient at lonely Hundreds Hall, the residence of the Ayres family for more than two centuries. Its owners, mother, son and daughter, are struggling to keep pace with a changing society, as well as conflicts of their own. But the Ayreses are haunted by something more sinister than a dying way of life.… (more)

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