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The Little Stranger

A Novel

Waters, Sarah, 1966-

(Book - 2009)
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
The Little Stranger
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Penguin Putnam
"The #1 book of 2009...Several sleepless nights are guaranteed."Stephen King,Entertainment Weekly

One postwar summer in his home of rural Warwickshire, Dr. Faraday, the son of a maid who has built a life of quiet respectability as a country physician, is called to a patient at lonely Hundreds Hall. Home to the Ayres family for over two centuries, the Georgian house, once impressive and handsome, is now in decline, its masonry crumbling, its gardens choked with weeds, the clock in its stable yard permanently fixed at twenty to nine. Its ownersmother, son, and daughterare struggling to keep pace with a changing society, as well as with conflicts of their own. But are the Ayreses haunted by something more sinister than a dying way of life? Little does Dr. Faraday know how closely, and how terrifyingly, their story is about to become intimately entwined with his.



Baker & Taylor
After being summoned to treat a patient at dilapidated Hundreds Hall, Dr. Faraday finds himself becoming entangled in the lives of the owners, the Ayres family, and the supernatural presences in the house.

Blackwell North Amer
A chilling and vividly rendered ghost story set in postwar Britain, by the bestselling and award-winning author of The Night Watch and Fingersmith.
Sarah Waters's trilogy of Victorian novels Tipping the Velvet, Affinity, and Fingersmith earned her legions of fans around the world, a number of awards, and a reputation as one of the most gifted of today's historical novelists. With her most recent novel, The Night Watch, Waters made a "flawless" (The Washington Post) historical leap to the 1940s and delivered a tender and intricate novel of relationships that garnered the most widespread acclaim of her career. Now, in The Little Stranger, she returns to the fertile setting of Britain in the 1940s - and brings us a sinister tale of a haunted house that brims with the rich atmosphere and psychological complexity that have become hallmarks of her work.
One dusty postwar summer in his home of rural Warwickshire, Dr. Faraday, the son of a maid who has built a life of quiet respectability as a country physician, is called to a patient at lonely Hundreds Hall. The residence of the Ayres family for more than two centuries, the once impressive and handsome Georgian house is now in decline, its masonry crumbling, its gardens choked with weeds, the clock in its stable yard permanently fixed at twenty to nine. Its owners - mother, son, and daughter - are struggling to keep pace with a changing society, as well as with conflicts of their own.
But are the Ayreses haunted by something more 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.

Publisher: New York : Riverhead Books, 2009
ISBN: 1594488800
9781594488801
Branch Call Number: FIC W
Characteristics: 466 p. ; 24 cm.

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Sep 17, 2014
  • WVMLStaffPicks rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

In post-WWII England, village physician Dr. Faraday is called to Hundreds Halls—a once grand estate that is now in decay and a financial burden on its once grand and no longer wealthy upper class owners. After this first visit, he slowly befriends the Ayres family and begins to witness a subtle malevolent force in the house that seems intent on destroying its occupants. This eerie novel is both a literary ghost story and a fascinating look at postwar Britain at the brink of social change.

Apr 09, 2014
  • Diell rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

I read this book when it first came out, I think I still have it somewhere.
I'm stealing from a few of the earlier comments as some of them made me remember the book quite clearly.
Yes good development of the characters because after all this time I
remember them and how they related/interacted with each other.
And yes I remember that sense of foreboding, the tension, and my uneasiness and irritation with Dr. Faraday. I remember it was one of those books where I kept saying oh just a few more pages and a few more, then the next thing I knew it was 2 in the a.m. She's good enough
that I searched out the rest of her books. She's good enough that I remembered the feeling of the book
years later. The words used in the other comments are right on, foreboding, dread, tense and disturbing.

"Set against a grim post-WWII British backdrop, this novel focuses on working-class Dr. Faraday, who's summoned to Hundreds Hall to attend to the aristocratic Ayres family. Faraday, the son of an Ayres household servant, has not seen the place in 30 years. Far from the splendour he remembers, Hundreds Hall is a decaying ruin and its surviving occupants - widowed Mrs. Ayres; her war-damaged son, former RAF pilot Roderick; and her "spinster" daughter, Caroline - are troubled by what they claim is an evil supernatural force. Atmospheric and foreboding, this novel balances Gothic creepiness with fascinating commentary on class distinctions, attraction, and perception." June 2013 Fiction A to Z newsletter http://www.nextreads.com/Display2.aspx?SID=5acc8fc1-4e91-4ebe-906d-f8fc5e82a8e0&N=645214

Jul 27, 2012
  • uncommonreader rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

This book is about the class system in post WW II Britain. Although it takes the author about 50 pages to set up the story, it is suspenseful to the end. A very good read.

The Little Stranger has some spooky parts, however, I kept waiting for soemthing more in the story. It was a little slow to start but kept me reading. I enjoyed the descriptions of the house and I thought the characters were nicely developed but just can't help feeling like there should have been something more....

Jul 29, 2011
  • lotusreader rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

What I liked about this book was the sense of foreboding atmosphere Waters created, and how the characters were affected by it over time. What I didn't like was the wishy-washy approach to what actually haunted the family at the center of the story.

This novel, part gothic tale and part historical suspense kept me up until all hours. The Little Stranger is an old-fashioned ghost story, complete with spooky house, eccentric inhabitants and a narrator who may not be as mild-mannered as he seems. Doctor Faraday, a lonely bachelor, first visited Hundred’s Hall in 1919 as a child when his mother worked for the aristocratic Ayres family. Now, 30 years later he is called back to treat a servant. His once solitary life becomes entangled with the family: Mrs. Ayres the elegant owner; her 24 year old son Roderick, an RAF airman wounded during the war: and daughter Caroline, considered a plain spinster by locals, but for whom Dr. Faraday develops a special attachment. And the mansion, Hundred’s Hall, is to my mind the most important character in the story. Author Sarah Waters ever so slowly builds the suspense as she skillfully weaves tension and dread into each and every paragraph. A book not to be missed.

May 19, 2011
  • ksoles rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Hundreds Hall, a once-grand estate in rural Warwickshire, frames the setting of Sarah Waters' newest novel. Post WWII, the house is declining rapidly: the masonry is crumbling, the wallpaper is peeling and weeds have entirely choked out the garden. Roderick Ayers, who has returned wounded from the War, is desperate to hold his home together for the sake of his mother and his sister, Caroline. As Dr. Faraday, the narrator who treats Roderick's injured leg, becomes entwined with the Ayeres family, disturbing occurrences within Hundreds imply that the house has taken on a life of its own. Indeed, the Hall seems possessed by something sinister, something determined to upset the lives of all the Ayeres'.

I have now read all five of Sarah Waters' novels and I maintain that she's an ingenious storyteller who never allows the reader's attention to falter. She does an especially good job of developing her characters and brilliantly takes on the point of view of an (intentionally) irritating and unreliable narrator. However, this wasn't my favourite of her books (I'd place it somewhere in the middle) mostly because it has an uncharacteristically linear plot and because it lacks the shocking twists and turns for which Waters is famous.

Apr 13, 2011
  • alleycat rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I enjoyed "The little stranger" immensely ... very well-written, stylish and intelligent, with a terrific ending. The novel was short-listed for the Booker, and has an almost Twilight-Zone feel about it. Disturbing and hideous at times, but always in a very polite way. Does that make sense? Also, if ever a character was in denial, it would be Dr. Faraday ... just my two cents.

Mar 18, 2011
  • maven rated this: 2.5 stars out of 5.

Much too long, and not engaging enough to read the whole thing.

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Feb 08, 2011
  • rtwete rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Dr. Faraday becomes family doctor to the Ayres family, a mother and 2 children in their 20's. Doctor's mother was a servant in Hundreds Hall for a short time. Son was wounded in WWII. Daughter is rather spinsterish. They have one full time and one part time servant. House is deteriorated and they continue to sell off land to live off the money. Servant tells dr. there is a "presence" of evil in the house (the little stranger), soon the son believes this as there are strange happenings mostly revolving around him. Mother comes to believe the presence is her long dead young daughter who died in childhood.

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