Synopses & Reviews
From the multi-award-winning and bestselling author of The Night Watch
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 best book I read this year."
-Stephen King for Entertainment Weekly
"Deliciously creepy...a ghost story as intelligent as it is stylish"
-The Washington Post
"Sarah Waters is an excellent, evocative writer, and this is an incredibly gripping and readable novel."
-The New York Times Book Review (editor's choice)
"A classic gothic page-turner."
“The #1 book of 2009…Several sleepless nights are guaranteed.”
—Stephen King, Entertainment Weekly
"A classic gothic page-turner."
“Wonderfully evoked…Waters has rendered the old house magnificently in its fading glory, and its in habitants sparkle like chandeliers in the damp, peeling rooms…Sarah Waters is an excellent, evocative writer, and this is an incredibly gripping and readable novel.”
—The New York Times Book Review (Editors Choice)
“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. She keeps the lightening flashing in every gloomy chapter, and you cant help but gasp, ‘Its alive!”
—The Washington Post
“Completely absorbing…I wanted to linger in that fictional world, page by page, chapter by chapter.”
“A virtuoso writer…If you want a ghost story that creeps up your spine, The Little Stranger delivers.”
—The Seattle Times
“Waters has managed to write a near-perfect gothic novel while at the same time confidently deploying the form into fresher territory. Its an astonishing performance, right down to the books mournful and devastating final sentence.”
—Laura Miller, Salon.com
“Waters creates an atmosphere of quiet dread thats unnerving and compelling.”
“With its subtly orchestrated suspense and spot-on portrayal of English class divisions, Waterss literary ghost story delights.”
“A marvelous and truly spooky historical novel.”
—The Boston Globe
“Rich with historic detail and slow, deliberate building toward the revelation of its secrets, [The Little Stranger] delights even as it leaves you unnerved.”
—The Miami Herald
“Like the gloomy English weather, an air of impending doom lingers over every chapter of The Little Stranger…an up-all-night page-turner that provides a cogent dose of social commentary.”
—The Cleveland Plain Dealer
“In The Little Stranger, Hundreds Hall serves as a perfect symbol of the postwar erosion of Britains class hierarchies, but it also, increasingly, transforms into a scheming, deadly character…Waters, a master at stoking anticipation, withholds the truth about her ghost until the final pages. By then we already strongly suspect its identity, but the confirmation is subtle, surprising, and deeply, deeply chilling.”
“A stunning haunted house tale whose ghosts are as horrifying as any in Shirley Jacksons The Haunting of Hill House.”
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Few authors do dread as well as Waters. Her latest novel is a ghost story with elements of both ‘The Fall of the House of Usher and Brideshead Revisited. This spooky satisfying read has the added pleasure of effectively detailing postwar village life, with its rationing, social structures, and gossip, all on the edge of Britains massive change to a social state.”
"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 ownersmother, son, and daughterare 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.
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.