Judy Murphy
Judy Murphy asked:

How do readers interpret the ending? I was expecting something un-nerving like the whole of the book but I was left with a bit of a question mark in my mind.

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Pk Chance The ending I got was very different.

To see it, you have to accept as plausible the explanation of the entity offered by Faraday's fellow doctor and friend (whose name escapes me at the moment) of "some 'little stranger' spawned from the troubled unconscious of someone connected with the house itself". That sounds a lot like poltergeists, which (so the stories go) seem to feed off unquiet psyches in a home. Actually, due to the sorts of things it causes to happen, it *is* a poltergeist.

Anyway, if you can accept that, two things happen: the ghost is no delusion. It's real, and it's deadly. Secondly, the question becomes, who is the person with the troubled unconscious? That person is the conduit the ghost is working through.

SPOILER: In the final sentence, you have your answer: it's Dr. Faraday. He fancies himself an objective man of science, but his problems, prejudices and flaws are on full display. He claims to love this family, but the truth he hides even from himself, suggests otherwise. As Kim Wiles said, he "writes the incidents off as delusion." That doesn't mean they are. He's deluded, all right, just not in the way he thinks.

Then you go back and re-examine the story, and a whole lot of things are cast in a whole new light. Pretty horrifying, IMO.
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Fiona The ending of the book, where Faraday (we never learn his Christian name do we?), observes himself in the mirror clinches it for me. He was most likely the conduit for the ghost and that Caroline has a vision of him on the landing. The ghost torments the protagonists with their worst experiences; Susan's death with Mrs Ayres, Fire with Roderick Ayres. With Caroline it is the fiancée she never loved, because she is not attracted to men and really found him repellent.
I once had an artists studio in an old mill building. Various members of the group had seen another member of the studio out of the corner of their eye; it turned out that he was never in the building when these sightings occurred and in many cases was even out of the UK, he was always dressed the same as well. He was responsible for a lot of the day to day running and security of the building. After he left people saw another figure in just the same way, this time it was someone they didn't recognise. It turned out that tenants on other floors had exactly the same experiences.....a spirit taking the form of a live person. I experienced it myself, it wasn't frightening at the time.
Lucy Roberts
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Christa I thought for sure he was going to brought up on charges because he'd been parked in the woods that night. And then there's that nightmare/vision or whatever, and he had the key...
Kim Wiles I was disappointed in the ending too. I found myself wanting Dr. Farraday to be less quick to write the incidents off as delusion. I wanted him to be less skeptical, but as a doctor I guess his inclination would have been to look for a scientific or medical explanation. The ending was less dramatic than I expected it to be though. I did enjoy the storyline though.
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Terri I agree Judy. I thought it was heading to exciting crescendo and was left feeling quite disappointed.
Sharie Interesting. No one here blames the maid? A "little stranger" in the house?
Maria I loved it. It reminded me of Henry James' The Turn of the Screw, which leaves the reader pondering. Very well written and terrifying.
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Monica Nassralla I believe it was him who she saw at the end...
Melanie It was the very uncertainty of that ending that was the scariest of all. All along I thought it was Dr. Faraday. But was he the conduit/proxy having partially grown up there in a semi-service capacity the ghost used or was he the ghost itself? Caroline mentioned once that the horrible things only seemed to happen when Dr. Faraday went away from the house. He was mainly called there to sort something out. I'm still very confused.:(
Prachi Pati
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Abhirup Dutta
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Mariele I have to admit I did not read the book, I only saw the film. Maybe someone here can answer this. I almost expected the story to have a "6th Sense" final plot twist. But how can Faraday be a ghost / poltergeist if he is not dead? And how did he get the dog to attack the little girl (if that is what happened)?
Marcia Great, so you're telling me that I have to plod along through this book and then I won't even understand the ending? A discussion today with friends showed that no one understood the ending , so I figured I'd make myself finish the book so that I can explain it ! Ha ha!
Jane Begermi i thought it was susan, no?
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