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Book Title: The Little Stranger|
The author of the book: Sarah Waters
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 2.93 MB
Edition: Hachette Digital
Date of issue: June 1st 2009
ISBN 13: 9781405505925
Read full description of the books The Little Stranger:If you are looking for a traditional horror novel, you won't find it in
The Little Stranger. This book is not a variant on The Shining that just happens to be set in post-WWII Britain: it is essentially historical fiction that happens to have a touch of the supernatural about it. And as historical fiction it is excellent. Sarah Waters evokes the atmosphere not only of another time (1947) but, for Americans at least, another place as well because in many ways The Little Stranger is a very "British" novel. In her depictions of the Ayres family and Hundreds Hall, the author shows us the final death throes of an entire British way of life that had lasted for centuries in one form or another. Whatever our modern feelings of distate for a formal class system may be, the author makes us feel how devastating the loss of it was for those at the top, and how it left them adrift, not only physically due to lack of servants, but ethically as well: for if they are not, as Mrs. Ayres describes, "an example" of all that is good for those below them, what purpose do they serve?
Another lingering remnant of that way of life that plays an important role in the story is the idea that what you can achieve is - at least partially - determined by who your parents were in local society. Dr. Faraday, the son of a shop-keeper and a mother who had been "in-service", still feels the awkwardness of being the first in his family to "rise above their place". The resistance of what is left of "county society" to the new ideas of equality and independence is very obvious when they gather at Hundreds Hall for a small evening party and find Dr. Faraday in attendance, drink in hand. Regardless of his evening dress, they immediately assume he is there only because someone is ill. It has to be explained to them that he is there as a guest and even then there is some awkwardness, not because of who Dr. Faraday is, but because of who his parents were. Dr. Faraday may be a perfectly nice man and a skilled doctor, but he's still not quite "their sort".
If immersion in the atmosphere of a historical period does not interest you, you will not like The Little Stranger. A great deal of what is horrifying in the novel - and it is horrifying - is intimately tied to that cultural period of British history. If the supernatural "incidents" are pulled out of the story and examined strictly for their shock value a la modern horror novels, they will be disappointing. This book is the result of many different threads, interwoven so skillfully that they cannot be separated and still make any sense. The supernatural aspects of the story are also of the more ambigous variety. If you enjoyed The Haunting of Hill House, The Turn of the Screw or even the more modern A Good and Happy Child you will enjoy the frightening elements of The Little Stranger. If you prefer your supernatural forces to come with complete explanations, this book may feel incomplete to you.
Link to an interesting review of this book by NPR.
Read information about the authorSarah Waters is a British novelist. She is best known for her first novel, Tipping the Velvet, as well the novels that followed, including Affinity, Fingersmith, and The Night Watch.
Waters attended university, earning degrees in English literature. Before writing novels Waters worked as an academic, earning a doctorate and teaching. Waters went directly from her doctoral thesis to her first novel. It was during the process of writing her thesis that she thought she would write a novel; she began as soon as the thesis was complete.
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