15 January 2010

The Little Stranger


Yesterday at work I finished The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters. I don't know how to talk about it! I usually try to post non-spoilery things unless the book is quite old. This book just came out last year! But it is difficult to talk about without going into specifics, especially things that occur later in the novel. So let me go with the facts. It's a ghost story in post-WWII England. Doctor Faraday is 40, a bachelor, and worried about his career as things change in England. He becomes acquainted with the Ayreses of Hundreds Hall, Mrs. Ayres who is in her mid-60s, Caroline, the daughter in her late 20's, and Roderick, the ex-RAF officer who's injuries Faraday begins to treat.

Hundreds is practically falling down around the family. Caroline and Roderick are doing what they can but with no money and little prospect for restorations the house just fades. Then, strange things begin to happen. Faraday never seems to experience anything directly, he is always telling what he was told by the various family members. is there a poltergeist brought on by the lonely 14-year-old maid? is the ghost of the first daughter, Susan, who died in the house at age 7 haunting the place? Are the various family members going mad? Is Faraday making things up?

I liked the journey but i don't know if i liked the book. I think i like it, then i decide because i didn't like the characters i didn't. Then i decide it is too creepy not to like, so i like it. Then i decide Faraday is an unreliable narrator, so i don't like it. Then i remember the rich descriptions of fading Hundreds, so i like it. I can't decide therefore i am giving this one a 4. Anyone who wants to talk more, who's read this book especially, lets put some spoilers in the comments and sort out my feelings! Also, i mentioned on BTT yesterday that i couldn't remember what prompted me to get this one. Now i do, it was Stephen King's number 1 book of 2009 in Entertainment Weekly.

Other opinions, with some spoilers in comments so watch out! : The Book Lady's Blog, Medieval Bookworm, Bookworm's Dinner, Asylum, 1 More Chapter, Fleur Fisher Reads, Age 30+, Literary License, Fizzy Thoughts, Jenclair.

2 comments:

  1. That picture is perfect!

    I didn't think it was creepy enough, so I was disappointed. I never even thought of Faraday as an unreliable narrator, though, so that might be why I was feeling meh about the book. I did like the setting, and the class issues that came up, and how Faraday had a chip on his shoulder. But the house? Not scary (although I'm not volunteering to spend the night there).

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  2. I enjoyed the book very much myself. It was subtle but all the clues were there. I enjoyed reading your thoughts on it too.

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