(The Little Stranger) PDF READ Ñ Sarah Waters
Old houses or castles Dracula Gormenghast Bleak House The Shining Manderley Wuthering Heights Hill House A typical passage from The Little Stranger A couple of panes in the window were cracked the sash frame crumbling around them A corner hand basin gave off a sour uriney smell and the boards beneath were almost rotting where a leaking tap had dripped The wallpaper had a raised pattern of loops and arabesues that had once she recalled suddenly been very colourful It had been painted over with a drab distemper which the damp was turning to a sort of curdIt s a long slow mournful crepuscular celebration of decay but what we may ask is the point of it all That the upper classes were clapped out and finished by the convulsing social order of the post WW2 radicalism What nonsense A lot of families like the Ayreses had to look sharp and reposition themselves get with the new land management and farming sciences for example or open their vast mansions to the public otherwise I m sure some did go the way of the unpleasant posh tossers here exhibited But has the upper class gone away Oh no I don t think so The 7th Duke of Westminster 25 ear old Hugh Grosvenor is now the heir to a legacy worth than 9bn Thanks to a series of trusts which are thought to date to the death of the 2nd Duke in 1953 Hugh and his three sisters will avoid having to pay the 40% levy ordinary families are faced with when parents die For people who are really wealthy inheritance tax has become an optional choice said John Christensen director of the Tax Justice Network If ou are lucky to be born into a very wealthy family ou will be untaxed For most normal people this is extraordinary and unacceptable The Guardian 10 August 2016Reading The Little Stranger one might think that 1947 was Britain s melancholy and sepia tinted version of St Petersburg 1917 So then we have the spooky ookums stuff As with all these rascally writers they have their cake and they eat it They will never come out and declare this stuff is either in their characters unbalanced psyches or that there really is a poltygeist moving ashtrays three inches to the left and knocking from inside the cupboard and what all No they are perfectly ambiguous all the time It s a cop out Fans of this kind of guff like to stroke their chins and ponder Sarah Waters even puts the rational point of view centre stage in the brain of her protagonist but what a meanminded insidious creep this guy is If he was the last rationalist in the world gimme the Tibetan Book of the Dead In the end this was a story where a succession of unpleasant things happen to a small number of unpleasant people But hey at least I broke my run of seven three star novels I first saw Hundreds Hall when I was ten Five fags a day years old It was the summer after the war and the Ayreses still had most of their money then were still big people in the district I recall most vividly the house itself which struck me as an absolute mansion I remember its lovely ageing details the worn red brick the cockled window glass the weathered sandstone edgings They made it look blurred and slightly uncertain like an ice I thought just beginning to melt in the sunWhat I liked most about this my first Sarah Waters book were the striking descriptions of the magnificent Georgian mansion Once a splendid home that was renowned throughout the district of Warwickshire Hundreds Hall now stands in a state of ruination due to the effects of World War II and the Ayres s declining family fortune The characters are well drawn including the dignified Mrs Ayres her surly son Roderick who returned from the war with his share of battle wounds her slightly awkwardet intelligent daughter Caroline and the ingratiating family doctor Faraday From the time he first set eyes on Hundreds Hall as a child Dr Faraday has had a peculiar fascination with both the house as well as its inhabitants When summoned to the estate to tend to the so called illness of Betty the newest family maid Dr Faraday rapidly becomes immersed
In The Ayres S Lives And Their Attendant Troubles The the Ayres s lives and their attendant troubles The is constructed skillfully from the outset to be an eerie Gothic ghost story with the rambling and decaying manor and *a series of baffling and disturbing happenings The story is written as *series of baffling and disturbing happenings The story is written as first person narrative from Dr Faraday s point of view Now I generally don t find fault with books written in the first person as long as done so effectively In this case Dr Faraday is not directly involved in many of the menacing goings on at the house Rather he recounts the events told to him by the occupants of Hundreds Hall He tells us what he heard from Caroline or Mrs Ayres or Roderick or in some cases the maid Betty The suspense was subseuently watered down for me as a result Dr Faraday is a famously unreliable narrator as well which is not a complaint in and of itself however his removal from the events as well as his uestionable credibility took me out of the plot a bit There was no single character I liked nor one sufficiently detestable for me to revel in my distaste not even the purported ghost Perhaps I unfairly kept making comparisons to one of my all time favorite novels Rebecca I was searching for my Mrs Danvers trying to sympathize with the narrator and looking for a climax that would electrify me It just didn t uite happen I was left with too many uestions and felt a shred of dissatisfaction as a result Since finishing the book I have drawn my own conclusion that I would like to put to Ms Waters I suspect she didn t mean for me to truly know her intent however so I will have to be content with my own interpretation Despite my slightly lukewarm review there were enough redeeming ualities to this novel that I will certainly read another title in this author s repertoire at some point in time The subliminal mind has many dark unhappy corners after all 375 Stars I ve had THE LITTLE STRANGER on my wish list for ears so I decided to use an Audible credit and listen to it in October The audio was narrated by Simon Vance and I enjoyed his performance very much I love his voice first heard him when I listened to BRING UP THE BODIES which was wonderful THE LITTLE STRANGER is a slow burn atmospheric novel of suspense I thought it was beautifully written uite absorbing and downright creepy at times It was a story that I looked forward to jumping back into That said I also thought it was a bit too long and drawn out and the ending doesn t wrap up with a tidy bow Set in the late 1940s this book centers around an English physician s relationship with a down on its luck aristocratic family and their crumbling ancestral home called Hundreds Hall Odd things
"Are Happening In The "happening in the and family members suspect the cause is a malicious supernatural presence but the doctor is not easily convinced Like I mentioned before there s no neat and tidy ending where everything is explained which is a bit frustrating I drew my own conclusions from the evidence given and I suppose I ll have to be satisfied with that. Ty to nine but are the ayreses haunted by something sinister than a dying way of life little does dr faraday know how closely and how terrifyingly their story is about to become entwined with his prepare ourself from this wonderful writer who continues to astonish us now comes a chilling ghost stor. He had washed it with kitchen soap and then forgotten to comb it Added to that she had the worst dress sense of any woman I ever knew She was wearing boyish flat sandals and a badly fitting pale summer dress not at all flattering to her wide hips and large bosom Her eyes were hazel highly set her face was long with an angular jaw her profile flattish Only her mouth I thought was good surprisingly large well shaped and mobileEach of these characters is extremely well drawn carefully described and fully realized The house as well is given its proper due as a major player in the drama It is wonderfully described with the kind of painstaking care that du Maurier gave to Manderley The story is set in motion when Dr Faraday is summoned to Hundreds Hall due to the illness of Betty one of the few remaining servants It turns out that Betty isn t really sick rather she s creeped out by something in the house Dr Faraday makes a good impression on the family and soon he is returning on a regular basis to provide treatment for Roderick s injuries It is never uite clear whether Faraday is being drawn by the house by some supernatural force or whether he is simply a bourgeois scrambler trying to up jump a class or two during a period of social upheaval Waters approaches her story from an obliue angle She is working with the fundamentals of a haunted house tale but instead of tackling it head on she is content to nibble at the edges The novel takes on a certain rhythm There will be a mysterious or unexplained event at the house That event will be given an explanation and forgotten Then there will be a bunch of other side plots and digressions until something else happens With that the cycle begins again Instead of creating tension this structuring releases it like a leaky steam valve The Little Stranger fails to generate any chills It is a novel filled with atmosphere unfortunately for a horror story none of them is dread Part of the problem is that Waters is clearly interested in her sideshows than in the central mystery of the haunting of Hundreds Hall This is too bad because the chief sideshow is a tepid awkward romance Jane of Gowlands yes this romance deserves air uotes between Caroline and Dr Faraday Caroline is indifferent and in a different Waters novel would be gay Dr Faraday is closer to asexual Unsurprisingly this supplies all the erotic tension of a beer league slow pitch softball game I can t be sure but I feel like The Little Stranger is an attempt by Waters not to be pigeonholed She achi Ifou are looking for a traditional horror novel ou 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 what purpose do they lingering remnant of that way of life that plays an important role in the story is the idea that what ou can achieve is at least partially determined by who The Proposal 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 euality 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 uite their sort If immersion in the atmosphere of a historical period does not interestou Prey 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 ambigous variety Ifou enjoyed The Haunting of Hill House The Turn of the Screw or even the modern A Good and Happy Child Addicted to Womanhood Book One you will enjoy the frightening elements of The Little Stranger Ifou prefer Batman: Arkham Asylum - A Serious House on Serious Earth your supernatural forces to come with complete explanations this book may feel incomplete toouLink to an interesting review of this book by NPR Any reader of Fingersmith will know how Sarah Waters drags the old tricks of ancient fiction out of retirement and makes them dance for us again There it was Dickens and Wilkie Collins here its Henry James and his Turn of the Screw The Fall of the House of Usher and any number of novels and movies with huge crumbling stately homes at their centre Operating where the psychological and the supernatural ooze along together The Little Stranger unhurriedly creeps the reader into its Gothic murderousness Lightly and effortlessly the political cultural background weaves into the tale which is set in 1947 as the radical Labour government steams ahead with such socialist solutions as the National Service and the upper classes personified by the Ayreses crumble and visibly wither One of the many pleasures of this wonderful novel No I m so sorry That is the review I would have liked to write But I can tSorry Sarah but Once is Never Enough you know what wereou thinking You who wrote the mighty Fingersmith And who latterly thrilled my very ventricles with The Paying Guests In parenthesis is she trying to win Most Boring Novel Title of the Year The Paying Guests The Night Watchman The Little Stranger What next The Middle Manager The Folded Knapkin The Acceptable Reservation For here we have a lengthy tale of a working class lad made good he s become a doctor and the local decayed upper class family he befriends These toffs have the stately home and the land but they have no money at all so the whole pile is gradually falling to bits For 500 pages Yes it s a metaphor Like all huge. St war summer in rural warwickshire a doctor is called to a patient at hundreds hall home to the ayres family for over two centuries the georgian house once grand and handsome is now in decline its masonry crumbling its gardens choked with weeds the clock in its stable ard permanently fixed at twen. ,
Departing from her preferred 19th century context as she did in her last book The Night Watch Sarah Waters sets her latest novel in post World War II Warwickshire and tries her hand at an Old Dark House Haunted Or Is It story in the Jamesian tradition of subtle ambiguous psychological chillers The Turn of the Screw The Beast In the Jungle But while James intuitively understood that the atmosphere of such tales depends on sustaining the unsettling mood and so they re best realized and indeed intensified by the concentrated form of a novella or short story Waters book trudges on for than 450 pages grinding all the tension and eeriness out of her narrative This review is going to be like one of those fridge poetry thingymabobs because I m tired and coherency isn t a top priority of mine right nowHere are some words and phrases that came to my mind after finishing this book in no particular orderAtmospheric Subtle DON T LOOK THROUGH THE KEYHOLE Observations are almost clinical at points Man I need to read of Sarah Waters books Passionate Perfectly paced Holy twisteroo Batman WHAT DOES THAT MEAN Don t go upstairs and investigate ou fruit loop Grow a pair Doctor Something bad is going to happen to that dog isn t it Sinister SERIOUSLY UIT WITH THE KEYHOLE Astonishing I wonder if the Tipping the Velvet adaptation is still available on Iplayer What the eff Um OK I m sure my door wasn t open a second ago The TV adaptation of this that is inevitably going to be shown at Christmas on the BBC is going to be as terrifyingcracked outwhat the hell is going on esue as Whistle and I ll Come To You Yeah thanks for ruining Christmas for me John Hurt Always listen to the raving crazy when it comes to ghosts andor the apocalypse they have never been wrong Remarkable Deleterearrange as Vikings in Wales An Archaeological uest you pleaseI only have one gripeview spoilerI was expecting lesbian ghosts Sigh Looks like I m going to have to write that book hide spoiler I was uite torn about how to rate this book and went between 2 and 3 stars I love most of Waters books I loved Tipping the Velvet and Affinity was a great ghost story but this book was like her other book Night Watch long drawn out and left me wondering what the point was Faraday the main character is not really likeable but that being said neither are any of the other characters The book ends with no real wrapping up of any details thoughou are left with this feeling that the author is trying to be clever and point the finger many different ways By the last page I stopped caring who the Little Stranger was It took way to long to try and figure that out I wish Waters would go back to writing about the Victorian time period I give it three stars because some of her writing especially with the mishaps in the house that were exciting and propelled me on through the mire of the rest of the writing I just wish when I got to the end it was an actual ending sigh i tried to read this slowly and still finished it in two days i suck but i can t help it she writes so well and her stories are so damn compelling the pages virtually turn themselves but sorry ladies no lesbians this time i never thought i would see the day what else is sarah waters for if not lesbian love evidently dickensian ghost st Dr Faraday is called over to Hundreds Hall on summer day when someone on the estate falls ill While there he strikes up a friendship with the family and in the coming months is pulled into their problems Hundreds Hall is said to be haunted and as the months pass by it becomes and confusing to tell whether the effect of the house on the people living in it is due to it being haunted or the steady deterioration of the estate and the status of the people who inhabit it in a world changing around them Really well written if a tad bit long I love when authors leave things ambiguous and it could go either way There was one thing that annoyed me though was DrFaraday s obsession with the Ayres and his desperation to be friends with them I just couldn t stand his constant feelings of inferiority stemming from his childhood and how he still so desperately needed everyone s approval I know that was the whole point but it was so irritating It was really well done though and his obsession with the estate really just added to the whole creepy feeling surrounding it The book did build up really slowly though and there isn t any clear outcome about what was happening in the house so if that sort of thing will bother ou I would skip this one The one thing I ve learned from reading my first two Sarah Waters novels Tipping the Velvet and The Paying Guests is the value of patience She starts things slowly building character and the environment with deliberate care and copious detail Plot is secondary and it can take awhile for the endgame to come into focus With The Little Stranger however my patience nearly ran out The Little Stranger is a bit of a departure for Waters in that she plays things straight Sexually I mean Her historical fiction based on what I ve read and what I have on my shelf is usually told through a gaylesbian viewpoint Not here In this novel the main characterfirst person narrator is Dr Faraday who on account of being a man is most certainly not a lesbian He is also not very interesting The Little Stranger is Waters entry into pure genre territory Specifically this is an old fashioned ghost story featuring that most reliable of settings the splendid old haunted
house i love it when talented authors workI love it when talented authors work genre trappings And since autumn is approaching I decided to get a jump on my seasonal reading The house in uestion here is Hundreds Hall a Georgian style mansion located in rural Warwickshire England Hundreds Hall has been the seat of the Ayres family for over two hundred ears When The Novel Opens The the novel opens the is in decline We are in the late 1940s in Great Britain s post World War II post Empire transition to the mean The house and the society it represents is crumbling Most of the servants have left Faraday s mother naturally once worked there Old estates are being carved up by developers so that the peasants can have their own hovels There is even the specter of gasp socialized medicine on the horizon I don t think I m exaggerating when I say that the offstage presence of Clement Attlee looms far terrifying in the characters minds than any paranormal activity in the Hundreds Only three Ayres are left in Hundreds Hall the siblings Roderick and Caroline and their mother Mrs Ayres Mrs Ayres is the fading matriarch an avatar of the old days now reduced to reusing postage stamps and rereading letters from her late husband
She Is Also Stillis also still mourning for a dead daughter Roderick was in the RAF during the war and has returned badly injured and perhaps psychologically unsound Caroline is the eccentric spinster to be a pure Waters creation Her hair was a pale English brown and might with proper treatment have been handsome but I had never seen it tidy and just now it fell drily to her shoulders as if After her award winning trilogy of victorian novels sarah waters turned to the 1940s and wrote the night watch a tender and tragic novel set against the backdrop of wartime britain shortlisted for both the orange and the man booker it went straight to number one in the bestseller chart in a dusty po.