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The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters

The Paying Guests (original 2014; edition 2015)

by Sarah Waters (Author)

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1,8601363,717 (3.62)226
Title:The Paying Guests
Authors:Sarah Waters (Author)
Info:Riverhead Books (2015), Edition: Reprint, 592 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters (2014)

  1. 20
    Life Mask by Emma Donoghue (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Intimate friendships between women give rise to scandalous rumors and interpersonal drama in these character-driven historical novels. Although both London-set stories are atmospheric and richly detailed, The Paying Guests opens in the 1920s, Life Mask in the late eighteenth century.… (more)
  2. 20
    Fingersmith by Sarah Waters (queencersei)

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Showing 1-5 of 139 (next | show all)
A great and gripping read that is packed with action and with small details of life in post first world war London. The story takes twists and turns as the tension builds and kept me reading. Sarah Waters creates a world in a respectable middle-class London where what the neighbours see is what matters, everything is for show and anything considered risky happens behind closed doors. It is class that decides the rules you have to follow in your life. A great read. ( )
  Tifi | Jun 4, 2017 |
Mixed feeling about this book, it is not really a murder mystery, more about relationship and drama. Great description of the characters. ( )
  Baochuan | Mar 29, 2017 |
This is not a book for readers who like action on every page. It's a bit of a slow burner, a gradual friendship between two very different women forced into close proximity by circumstance.
Frances is a 'lady'. Having lost her father and brothers she lives with her mother in a slowly decaying house with limited finances. In order to make ends meet they are forced to take in lodgers and so Len and Lillian enter their lives. What follows is a beautiful and horrific love story.
Sarah Waters has long been one of my favourite authors, Fingersmith and Tipping the Velvet being two of my most treasured reads. Nobody writes sexual tension like Waters and this book is no different, repressed sexual desire vibrates on the pages. While I will always prefer her books set in the Victorian era I really enjoyed her latest offering. ( )
  angelaoatham | Feb 21, 2017 |
Expectations of Sarah Waters' novels are generally met - gripping plot, lesbian romance, fabulous period details, first person narrator's journey of self discovery involving all of the above. No disappointment here. We are firmly into Patrick Hamilton territory, of frustrating post war middle class genteel poverty and social disruption, mixed with the joys of a murder in the pre DNA era.
  otterley | Jan 28, 2017 |
A cracking story of a torrid love affair between a genteel middle class woman, Frances Wray, and the working- class wife of her lodgers, Lilian Barber that ends with their murder of Lilian's husband, Leonard, and the subsequent police enquiry and wrongful arrest of another young man caught up in the tangle of the Barbers' lives, and Old Bailey trial. Waters does a great job of narrating the story through the eyes of Frances and leaving the reader wondering about Lilian. Just how much does Lilian exploit Frances' frustration in her desire to be rid of her husband? We're never quite sure and are kept guessing to the end. Nicely observed commentary on social class, WW1, sexuality and morality.

Much too long; became very tedious I stopped reading before the murder.

  walkerff | Jan 21, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 139 (next | show all)
"Some novels are so good, so gripping or shattering that they leave you uncertain whether you should have ever started them. You open “The Paying Guests” and immediately surrender to the smooth assuredness of Sarah Waters’s silken prose. Nothing jars. You relax. You turn more pages. You start turning them faster. Before long, you resemble Coleridge’s Wedding-Guest: You cannot choose but read. The book has you in thrall. You will follow Waters and her story anywhere. Yet when that story ends, you find yourself emotionally sucked dry, as much stunned as exhilarated by the power of art."
added by lorax | editWashington Post, Michael Dirda (Sep 10, 2014)
The superbly talented Sarah Waters — three times shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize — leads her readers into hidden worlds, worlds few of us knew existed. And so it is with The Paying Guests. ..Amid this heart-crushing drama, uncaring London grinds on, a cacophony of “hooves, voices, hurrying steps, the clash and grinding of iron wheels” that threatens to destroy the hopes of summer: an utterly engrossing tale.
Novel tackles big themes but lacks bite...Yet the love story’s progression – to say more would give too much away – is not entirely convincing by the end..Characterisation has a hint of familiarity, as if characters have been derived from Waters’ bank of past creations, and they lose some of their gleam for it, though the story stays emotionally-charged...
The Paying Guests, Sarah Waters' superb, bewitching new novel, is set in 1922 London...My only quibble with The Paying Guests is its length; the last hundred pages or so chronicle a court trial and feel padded, the first time I've ever had that reaction to a Sarah Waters novel. Otherwise, this is a magnificent creation, a book that doubles as a time machine, flinging us back not only to postwar London, but also to our own lost love affairs, the kind that left us breathless — and far too besotted to notice that we had somehow misplaced our moral compass.
This fascinating domestic scenario might have made for an absorbing short novel;... Its pastiche propriety and faux-Edwardian prose (people are forever "colouring" and "crimsoning" and "putting themselves tidy") become irritants; and the novel's descent into melodrama as a murder is committed – and the inspector called – turns this engaging literary endeavour into a tiresome soap opera....Waters's unusual gift for drama and for social satire is squandered on the production of middlebrow entertainment:.. it would be good to see Waters produce something corrective and sharp, in which her authoritative and incisive dramatic style was permitted to be sufficient satisfaction on its own.

» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Sarah Watersprimary authorall editionscalculated
Waters, Sarahmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Forner, AlisonCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McMillian, MichelleDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Judith Murray, with thanks and with love
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The Barbers had said they would arrive by three.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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From the bestselling author of "The Little Stranger "and "Fingersmith," an enthralling novel about a widow and her daughter who take a young couple into their home in 1920s London. It is 1922, and London is tense. Ex-servicemen are disillusioned; the out-of-work and the hungry are demanding change. And in South London, in a genteel Camberwell villa--a large, silent house now bereft of brothers, husband, and even servants--life is about to be transformed as impoverished widow Mrs. Wray and her spinster daughter, Frances, are obliged to take in lodgers. With the arrival of Lilian and Leonard Barber, a modern young couple of the "clerk class," the routines of the house will be shaken up in unexpected ways. Little do the Wrays know just how profoundly their new tenants will alter the course of Frances's life--or, as passions mount and frustration gathers, how far-reaching, and how devastating, the disturbances will be. Short-listed for the Man Booker Prize three times, Sarah Waters has earned a reputation as one of our greatest writers of historical fiction, and here she has delivered again. A love story, a tension-filled crime story, and a beautifully atmospheric portrait of a fascinating time and place, "The Paying Guests" is Sarah Waters's finest achievement yet.
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