Djrmel's Reviews > The Little Stranger

The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters
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's review
Mar 17, 2009

liked it
bookshelves: fiction, historical-fiction, horror
Read in May, 2009

If you've read any of Ms. Waters' previous books, you know that she is a master of historical fiction. Her settings are as important to her stories as the characters and the plots. Taken out of their time period, the story wouldn't exist. It's not surprising that she went one step further with what she does so well and makes her setting an actual character. It's a common device in horror and in the hands of someone who researches like she does, a "haunted" house takes on as much flesh and blood as any villian or hero. The time period, post WWII, is an easy metaphor for wanted and unwanted changes. So all of that in her favor, why was this book so much less satisfying than what she has written before? All of the ingredients for a great story by a great storyteller are present, but it never quite comes together as a whole. I don't expect horror stories to have neat endings, but at least give me something that hints at what triggered the events before I get to the last page, and then don't make it read as even the author isn't sure why it all happened. Such a rich buildup, full of just the right amount of details to make the story very real, desrves to have an ending of the same texture.

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