Sarah Sammis's Reviews > The Little Stranger

The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters
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's review
Feb 22, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: borrowed, challenge, read-in-2010

I read The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters for the #TuesBooktalk book club on Twitter. It's the third of her books I've read, the other two being Affinity and Tipping the Velvet.

The Little Stranger returns to the paranormal of Affinity. It's set in 1940s, at a decaying manor haunted both by bad memories and a restless spirit. Dr. Faraday is called to the home when one of the servant girls feels poorly. Her story of strange happenings at the home begins the doctor's somewhat skeptical investigation of the possible haunting.

The book is Gothic horror rich in tension, emotions (guilt, regret and sadness) and ambiguity. It reminds me favorably of Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier and The Thirteenth Tale by Dianne Setterfield.

The book also shares a kinship with Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh when looking at the interaction of memory and physical spaces. Dr. Faraday has a history with the manor, having visited as a child. He recounts a time when he pried on of the decorations off the woodwork. Looking back at the decline of the family and their home, he feels his act of juvenile vandalism may have been the start of it all. For me, Faraday's misguided guilt was the reason behind his unhealthy and unhelpful obsession with the haunting.

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Reading Progress

February 22, 2010 – Started Reading
February 22, 2010 – Shelved
February 22, 2010 – Shelved as: borrowed
February 22, 2010 – Shelved as: challenge
March 15, 2010 –
page 64
13.73% "Reminds me quite favorably of Brideshead Revisited."
March 27, 2010 –
page 177
April 14, 2010 –
page 244
April 14, 2010 –
page 330
April 14, 2010 – Shelved as: read-in-2010
April 14, 2010 – Finished Reading

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