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The Little Stranger Paperback – May 4, 2010
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"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Learn more
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“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 (Editor’s 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 can’t help but gasp, ‘It’s 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. It’s an astonishing performance, right down to the book’s mournful and devastating final sentence.”
—Laura Miller, Salon.com
“Waters creates an atmosphere of quiet dread that’s unnerving and compelling.”
“With its subtly orchestrated suspense and spot-on portrayal of English class divisions, Waters’s 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 Britain’s 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 Jackson’s 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 Britain’s massive change to a social state.”
About the Author
Sarah Waters is the New York Times–bestselling author of The Paying Guests, The Little Stranger,The Night Watch, Fingersmith, Affinity, and Tipping the Velvet. She has three times been short-listed for the Man Booker Prize, has twice been a finalist for the Orange Prize, and was named one of Granta’s best young British novelists, among other distinctions. Waters lives in London.
Top customer reviews
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At its core, the plot is a simple one: observed by the village doctor, a genteel landowning family, fallen on hard times, is gradually driven to madness and despair by the apparent presence of a malignant spirit inhabiting its crumbling mansion. The doctor searches for rational explanations, and the other characters cling to them, but gradually lose faith in his scientific reasoning. I don't know how she does it exactly, but somehow the author's genius with recurrent imagery and insinuation manages, by the closing chapters, to make the true explanation chillingly clear without ever actually spelling it out. The final few sentences were so creepy that I had to put Parks and Rec on in order to avoid giving myself nightmares (because I love a good scare, but am sufficiently self-aware to know I'm a total lightweight). This was a terrific book, tense and satisfying and well-written. I haven't even touched here on the primary theme of the decay of the English class system; it gives the book depth and texture, but I think you could be totally satisfied with this novel even reading it on a more superficial level.
*I mean joyful for me, not for the characters: who among us doesn't wish she could read The Woman In White again for the first time?
Analysts and readers will debate whether this is a Ghost, Poltergeist or Psychological novel. The atmosphere is adequately Gothic and yet despite the fine writing the story spirals to shoulder shrugging conclusion.
In the end heartbreak and death seem the destiny of all involved. Ms. Waters offers a keen observation on England's Working Class and declining Gentry in post World War II.
Reviewers will want to know - did I enjoy the book? And my answer is yes but I found it to be frustrating read as I wanted to slap silly all the main characters for their obtuseness. Worth a read, hard to put down but don't expect to be satisfied in the end. Not your typical ghost story - so leave your paranormal baggage at home
Most recent customer reviews
My least favorite Waters