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The Little Stranger Paperback – Mar 30 2010

24 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Emblem Editions (March 30 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0771087896
  • ISBN-13: 978-0771087899
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 3.3 x 20.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 431 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #113,252 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


“[The Little Stranger] reflects on the collapse of the British class system after WWII in a stunning haunted house tale whose ghosts are as horrifying as any in Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House.”
Publisher’s Weekly “Pick of the Week” (starred review)

“Waters pulls such a sensational sleight of hand that you can get to the last page of this novel, sigh contentedly, and immediately turn to the first page and begin reading a story that resonates in a completely different register…. Delightfully eerie…. A welcome addition to the Waters canon, confirming her place as one of the best of our contemporary historical novelists.”
The Gazette (Montreal)

“A full-on, down-the-hatches ghost story…. Hundreds Hall is as much a characters as any of the humans in the book, animated by Waters’ masterful, highly visual descriptions…. If you read only one ghost story this summer, make it this one.”
The Toronto Star

“This novel belongs in an 18th-century tradition, the Gothic line … timeless.”
The Globe and Mail

“Closer to Henry James than Stephen King…. Waters is a great stylist and a master storyteller.”
Winnipeg Free Press

“A deliciously creepy tale … haunted by the spirits of Henry James and Edgar Allan Poe…. A ghost story as intelligent as it is stylish…. [Faraday] calls to mind Patricia Highsmith’s clever psychopath, Tom Ripley…. Waters has made old bones dance again.”
Washington Post

“Completely absorbing [and] full of mystery…. At the end of the book, Waters delivers a real shock…. Hundreds Hall is a pretty gloomy place, but I was thrilled to spend time there, under the guidance of this supremely gifted storyteller.”

“Sarah Waters has renewed a chilling genre. Just don't read her new book in the house on your own at night.”
Evening Standard

“Terrific…. [Waters] tells a story like no one else.”
NOW magazine

“Masterly, enthralling…. 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.”

“A stunning ghost story that nurtures Turn of the Screw–style ambiguities.”
TimeOut New York

“The spookiest book I've read in a long time…. The ending is perfect, leaving just enough to the imagination, and sending echoes back through all that has come before.”
Columbus Post-Dispatch

“A classic gothic page-turner.”
USA Today

“Sarah Waters is an excellent, evocative writer, and this is an incredibly gripping and readable novel.”
The New York Times

“Waters has yet again written a classic thriller, styled as a classic thriller. It can be only a matter of time before a latter-day Hitchcock turns it into a film.”
The Independent

“Waters’s masterly novel is a perverse hymn to decay, to the corrosive power of class resentment as well as the damage wrought by the war…. She deploys the vigour and cunning one finds in Margaret Atwood’s fiction. She has the same narrative ease and expansiveness, and the same knack of twisting the tension tighter and tighter within an individual scene.”
— Hilary Mantel, in The Guardian

“Waters is clearly at the top of her game, with few to match her ability to bring the past to life in a fully imagined world.”
— Tracy Chevalier, in The Guardian

“Two novels under one cover. One of these is a shrewd and highly readable social history of the late 1940s… [the other] is a classic ghost story of the haunted house, Edgar Allan Poe variety.”
— Fay Weldon, in The Financial Times

“Again displaying her remarkable flair for period evocation, Waters re-creates back-water Britain just after the second world war with atmospheric immediacy.”

About the Author

Sarah Waters is the bestselling author of four previous novels: Tipping the Velvet; Affinity; Fingersmith; and The Night Watch. Winner of many literary awards, she has been shortlisted for both the Man Booker and Orange Prizes. She lives in London.

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on May 26 2009
Format: Hardcover
Reason for Reading: Sarah Waters had a new book out! Need I say more!

Comments: The Ayres family have lived at Hundreds Hall since the early-mid 1700s and now in post-war times (WWII) there remain three family members, one live-in servant and one half-time servant under its roof. During the war, they did their part for the war effort giving their rooms over to soldiers, their land over to the army for its use, their silver for melting, their furs, woolens, linens, etc for cutting apart and making clothing, handing down clothing they didn't need for those left without homes after the bombings and now that the war is over they have little left. Mrs. Ayres, in her fifties, not old by any means, seems old as she belongs to a different generation and the children try to keep the facts of their penury from her. Roderick, returns from the war a cripple and after recovering from his wounds tries to keep the dairy farm and the estate running for his mother's sake even if it kills him. Caroline is called home from the WRENs to nurse her brother through the long recovery from his injuries at his homecoming and then settles down to help with the estate; a robust, active, yet plain woman she is many years past the expected age of marrying yet she still hopes and now she can be found either in the kitchen with the women help or out on the land helping out the dairy farmer. But this is nothing especially special about the Ayres family, this is a situation that a geat many of the landed gentry of England found themselves in post WWII and the only way they managed to survive was to sell off the land piece by agonizing piece.

What makes the Ayres special is Hundreds Hall itself. Naturally without the money, the manpower or the resources it is falling to pieces and slowly crumbling around them.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Luanne Ollivier #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on May 21 2009
Format: Hardcover
It is 1949. Britain is still feeling the effects of the war. In rural Warwickshire, Dr.Faraday is called to Hundreds Hall to check on the well being of a servant in the Ayres family home. As a child Dr. Faraday was in the house once. His mother was a nursemaid there when she was younger. He was captivated by the house, the family and their wealth. On this visit, he is dismayed by the decline of both house and family. Mrs Ayres lives there with her son Roddie, who was injured in the war and is struggling to keep the family home afloat. Daughter Caroline was called home to help when Roddie returned from the war and never left. The only live in servant left is a fourteen year old girl.

From that first visit, Dr. Faraday slowly becomes part of the family's life. He is called on often to treat Roddie. Something ails Roddie besides his physical injuries. The young servant girl insists there is something 'wrong' with the house. Caroline begins to wonder this as well, as more misfortune befalls the family.

" This house is playing parlour games with us, I think. We shan't pay it any mind if it starts up again."

She confides in Dr. Faraday and enlists his help.

" I don't know what's going on here, any more than you do. But I'd like to help you figure it out. I'll take my chances with the hungry house, don't worry about that."

This is a tale with a 'gothic' feel to it, a ghost story of sorts. But it doesn't involve overt frights or over the top scenarios. Instead it is all the more delicious for the subtle and insidious manner in which the story unfolds. Everyday items and occurrences suddenly take on a sinister bent.

The interplay between the characters is just as much a part of the story. Dr. Faraday is a bit of an enigma.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Darlene TOP 500 REVIEWER on Oct. 16 2012
Format: Audio CD
The Little Stranger is an eerie story that is told in a very subtle way. It was a 2009 Man Booker Prize Nominee for Shortlist and also a 2009 Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Fiction & Mystery/Thriller.

The story takes place in England after WWII and features the well-to-do Ayres family. The matron of the family, Mrs. Ayres, is widowed and she lives at the Hundreds Hall estate with her rather homely daughter, Caroline, and son, Roderick. The family has fallen on hard times, and what was once a shining jewel is now a decrepit mansion in desperate need of repairs. Roderick, in his father's stead, has taken over the handling of the estate's day-to-day affairs but is finding it hard to manage when there are no liquid assets left. The rugs and furniture, once beautiful and ornate, are threadbare and shabby. The bulk of the financial burden falls on Roderick's shoulders, which puts a huge strain on him.

One of the local country doctors, Dr. Faraday, is called to Hundreds Hall because the Ayres' young servant, a teenager named Betty, has been stricken with stomach pains. His now-deceased mother was once a servant for the Ayres family, and Dr. Faraday remembers being so enamoured with Hundreds Hall as a young boy. He is thrilled to have an opportunity to see it again, but he is quite shocked to see it in such a state of disrepair. The Ayres have become somewhat like hermits, keeping mostly to their estate and not venturing out into town. A congenial friendship is struck up between Dr. Faraday and the Ayres family, and he begins to drop in and visit with them. He notices that Roderick's leg, which was injured in the war, has been giving him trouble and the good doctor offers to take a look at it.
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