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The Little Stranger

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The Little Stranger Cover

 

Awards

The Rooster 2010 Morning News Tournament of Books Nominee

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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.

Review:

"Waters (The Night Watch) reflects on the collapse of the British class system after WWII in a stunning haunted house tale whose ghosts are as horrifying as any in Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House. Doctor Faraday, a lonely bachelor, first visited Hundreds Hall, where his mother once worked as a parlor maid, at age 10 in 1919. When Faraday returns 30 years later to treat a servant, he becomes obsessed with Hundreds's elegant owner, Mrs. Ayres; her 24-year-old son, Roderick, an RAF airman wounded during the war who now oversees the family farm; and her slightly older daughter, Caroline, considered a 'natural spinster' by the locals, for whom the doctor develops a particular fondness. Supernatural trouble kicks in after Caroline's mild-mannered black Lab, Gyp, attacks a visiting child. A damaging fire, a suicide and worse follow. Faraday, one of literature's more unreliable narrators, carries the reader swiftly along to the devastating conclusion." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

Sarah Waters ain't afraid of no ghost. Her new novel, a deliciously creepy tale called "The Little Stranger," is haunted by the spirits of Henry James and Edgar Allan Poe. Waters is just one turn of the screw away from "The Fall of the House of Usher." Here, once again, a malevolent force moves through a crumbling mansion in which live the final two siblings of a faded great family. And yes, Waters'... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"An eerie ghost story mixed with piercing class commentary, Waters latest is downright haunting." Booklist

Review:

"Waters has extended her range agreeably, working in traditions established by Edgar Allan Poe, Sheridan le Fanu and Wilkie Collins, expertly teasing us with suggestive allusions to the classics of supernatural fiction." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"This spooky, satisfying read ... effectively detail[s] postwar village life, with its rationing, social strictures, and gossip, all on the edge of Britain's massive change to a social state." Library Journal

Review:

"What elevates this novel from the crowded genre is Waters’s ability to evoke the subtleties of the past as she skillfully weaves tension and dread into each paragraph." Bookmarks Magazine

Synopsis:

"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.

 

 

Synopsis:

Unabridged CDs • 14 CDs, 18 hours

Abundantly atmospheric and elegantly told, The Little Stranger is Sarah Waters's most thrilling and ambitious novel yet.

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, and Fingersmith, which was shortlisted for both the Orange Prize and the Man Booker Prize in 2002. Waters was named one of Granta's best British writers under forty in 2003.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 5 comments:

Darin, January 2, 2012 (view all comments by Darin)
A beautifully crafted tale of an old English mansion physically decaying while Britain's class system also begins to fray following World War II. The Little Stranger presents itself as a gothic romance with all of the trappings thereof, yet the author, the more than capable Sarah Waters, has a few tricks up her sleeve.

Dr. Faraday is summoned to Hundreds Hall to tend to the ill housekeeper and is reminded of his previous visit, when he was all of ten years old. Through repeated interactions with the hall's residents, the Ayres family, Faraday manages to insinuate himself into their lives. Mrs. Ayres, the matriarch, and her children, 27 year old Caroline and 23 year old Roderick, live in the dilapidating estate house with their teenaged housemaid Betty. Faraday's mother had been a housekeeper in the hall years before. Mrs. Ayres' first daughter Susan died in the hall's nursery in childhood. From these elements, Waters brews an insightful, penetrating account of class tension, envy, jealousy, lovers' quarrels and, just possibly, a ghost or some other malevolent presence. The family are slowly driven mad by the hall, both mentally through the possible hauntings and physically by the shear enormity of the situation - trying to maintain an ungodly large estate on dwindling income.

The novel brilliantly evokes its time and place, give us characters to care about and places them in harm's way. The suspense is slowly, almost excruciatingly built up. The doctor remains skeptical, the family members slowly succumb to the madness the house induces. And in the end, the ghost is masterfully revealed causing the reader to reassess everything revealed previously. Creepy, lyrical and lonesome, The Little Stranger makes the perfect October's evening read.
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Bertha, December 1, 2009 (view all comments by Bertha)
After my initial disappontment I found that in retrospect I was impressed by the evocation of post war austerity and the decline of the country house and its family. Dr. Faraday's dreary rationalism contrasts with the insight of the parlour maid - the only one who really appreciates that there is a malevolent presence at Hundreds Hall. He is heard, she is ignored. Sarah Waters' novel shows how evil is served by human vulnerability, folly and short-sightedness, and how it incarnates our worst fears. I think I now understand what happened at the end.
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(2 of 5 readers found this comment helpful)
Elliott, June 12, 2009 (view all comments by Elliott)
Sarah Waters delivers a thrilling and well-crafted story of how longing can manifest itself into other worldly phenomena. Set at the end of World War II, she deftly weaves a subtle Gothic tale about class anxities in a crumbling mansion called Hundreds Hall. The characters are haunted by postwar changes as well as ghosts. This is not a book for those wanting cheap gore but for those who want a taughtly written story that delivers chills intelligently. Henry James would be proud.
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(8 of 11 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781594488801
Publisher:
Riverhead Hardcover
Subject:
Literary
Author:
Waters, Sarah
Subject:
Children's 12-Up - Fiction - General
Subject:
Physicians
Subject:
Ghost stories
Subject:
Horror fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20090430
Binding:
CD-audio
Grade Level:
from 8
Language:
English
Pages:
480
Dimensions:
9.10x6.10x1.70 in. 1.55 lbs.
Age Level:
13-13

Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Gay and Lesbian » Fiction and Poetry » Gay Fiction
Gay and Lesbian » Fiction and Poetry » Lesbian Fiction

The Little Stranger
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 480 pages Riverhead Hardcover - English 9781594488801 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Waters (The Night Watch) reflects on the collapse of the British class system after WWII in a stunning haunted house tale whose ghosts are as horrifying as any in Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House. Doctor Faraday, a lonely bachelor, first visited Hundreds Hall, where his mother once worked as a parlor maid, at age 10 in 1919. When Faraday returns 30 years later to treat a servant, he becomes obsessed with Hundreds's elegant owner, Mrs. Ayres; her 24-year-old son, Roderick, an RAF airman wounded during the war who now oversees the family farm; and her slightly older daughter, Caroline, considered a 'natural spinster' by the locals, for whom the doctor develops a particular fondness. Supernatural trouble kicks in after Caroline's mild-mannered black Lab, Gyp, attacks a visiting child. A damaging fire, a suicide and worse follow. Faraday, one of literature's more unreliable narrators, carries the reader swiftly along to the devastating conclusion." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "An eerie ghost story mixed with piercing class commentary, Waters latest is downright haunting."
"Review" by , "Waters has extended her range agreeably, working in traditions established by Edgar Allan Poe, Sheridan le Fanu and Wilkie Collins, expertly teasing us with suggestive allusions to the classics of supernatural fiction."
"Review" by , "This spooky, satisfying read ... effectively detail[s] postwar village life, with its rationing, social strictures, and gossip, all on the edge of Britain's massive change to a social state."
"Review" by , "What elevates this novel from the crowded genre is Waters’s ability to evoke the subtleties of the past as she skillfully weaves tension and dread into each paragraph."
"Synopsis" by ,
"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.

 

 

"Synopsis" by ,

Unabridged CDs • 14 CDs, 18 hours

Abundantly atmospheric and elegantly told, The Little Stranger is Sarah Waters's most thrilling and ambitious novel yet.

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