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The Little Strangerby Sarah Waters
Monday, September 22, 2014 07:30 PM
Powell's City of Books on Burnside, Portland, OR
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, life is about to be transformed as an impoverished widow, Mrs. Wray, and her spinster daughter, Frances, are obliged to take in lodgers. With the arrival of Lilian and Leonard, a 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. Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize three times, Sarah Waters has earned a reputation as one of our greatest writers of historical fiction. A triumph of psychological acuity, historical recreation, and emotional force, The Paying Guests (Riverhead) is Waters's finest work yet. Waters will be joined in conversation by Lidia Yuknavitch, author of The Chronology of Water.
Synopses & Reviews
From the multi-award-winning and bestselling author of The Night Watch and Fingersmith comes an astonishing novel about love, loss, and the sometimes unbearable weight of the past.
In a dusty post-war summer in rural Warwickshire, a doctor is called to see a patient at lonely Hundreds Hall. Home to the Ayres family for over two centuries, the once grand house is now in decline, its masonry crumbling, its garden choked with weeds. All around, the world is changing, and the family is struggling to adjust to a society with new values and rules.
Roddie Ayres, who returned from World War II physically and emotionally wounded, is desperate to keep the house and what remains of the estate together for the sake of his mother and his sister, Caroline. Mrs. Ayres is doing her best to hold on to the gracious habits of a gentler era and Caroline seems cheerfully prepared to continue doing the work a team of servants once handled, even if it means having little chance for a life of her own beyond Hundreds.
But as Dr. Faraday becomes increasingly entwined in the Ayreses' lives, signs of a more disturbing nature start to emerge, both within the family and in Hundreds Hall itself. And Faraday begins to wonder if they are all threatened by something more sinister than a dying way of life, something that could subsume them completely.
Both a nuanced evocation of 1940s England and the most chill-inducing novel of psychological suspense in years, The Little Stranger confirms Sarah Waters as one of the finest and most exciting novelists writing today.
From the Hardcover edition.
"The #1 book of 2009...Several sleepless nights are guaranteed."—Stephen King, Entertainment Weekly
One postwar summer in his home of rural Warwickshire, Dr. Faraday, the son of a maid who has built a life of quiet respectability as a country physician, is called to a patient at lonely Hundreds Hall. Home to the Ayres family for over two centuries, the Georgian house, once impressive 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. Its owners—mother, son, and daughter—are struggling to keep pace with a changing society, as well as with conflicts of their own. But are the Ayreses haunted by something more sinister than a dying way of life? Little does Dr. Faraday know how closely, and how terrifyingly, their story is about to become intimately entwined with his.
The New York Times bestseller and Booker Prize contender that "delivers...a ghost story that creeps up your spine" (Seattle Times).
One post-war summer in rural Warwickshire, Dr. Faraday is called to a patient at lonely Hundreds Hall. Home to the Ayres family for over two centuries, the Georgian house, once impressive and handsome, is now in decline. Its owners-mother, son, and daughter-are struggling to keep pace with a changing society, as well as with conflicts of their own. But are the Ayreses haunted by something more sinister than a dying way of life? Little does Dr. Faraday know how closely, and how terrifyingly, their story is about to become intimately entwined with his.
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About the Author
Sarah Waters is the author of Tipping the Velvet, a New York Times Notable Book; Affinity, which won her the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award; Fingersmith and The Night Watch, both of which were shortlisted for both the Orange Prize and the Man Booker Prize; and The Little Stranger, which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, a finalist for the Shirley Jackson Award and a New York Times Notable Book. She has also been named one of Granta's best young British novelists. She lives in London.
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