‘Little Stranger’ is Critic’s Pick

Released just over a month ago, Sarah Waters’ fifth novel, the stylish ghost story The Little Stranger, has steadily gained  critical attention. Reserve activity is pretty strong at libraries we checked, but orders are low.

The New York Times Book Review declared that Waters “magnificently” renders the grand old house where the novel is set, and that its inhabitants “sparkle like chandeliers in the damp, peeling rooms” as their way of life fades amid the Second World War. The review also notes that the members of the artistocratic Ayres family “are such lovingly depicted and realistic characters that it becomes hard to accept their gothic fates.” 

NPR‘s “Books We Like” columnist Maud Newton observes, “Although her past works have focused on lesbian characters, repressed desire has always been Waters’ terrain. In her hands these hidden longings incite turmoil and even blur into the occult. . . . 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.”

The Washington Post wonders, “What are we dealing with here? Hysteria? Evil spirits? A jealous doctor? Waters teases us with clues that send us running off in every direction: psychological, paranormal and socioeconomic. But the story’s sustained ambiguity is what keeps our attention, and her perfectly calibrated tone casts an unnerving spell over these pages.”

The Little Stranger
Sarah Waters
Price: $26.95
Hardcover: 480 pages
Publisher: Riverhead Hardcover – (2009-04-30)
ISBN-10: 1594488800
ISBN-13: 9781594488801

Avaiilable from Penguin Audiobooks

  • CD; $39.95; 0143144804

Also available as a downloadable audio on Overdrive

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