The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 15 Critic Reviews

unrated

Synopsis

"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 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 intimately entwined with his.
 
 

About Sarah Waters

See more books from this Author
A native of Wales, Sarah Waters is the award-winning author of Affinity and Tipping the Velvet.
 
Published March 31, 2009 by Riverhead Books. 482 pages
Genres: Gay & Lesbian, Literature & Fiction, History. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Little Stranger

The New York Times

See more reviews from this publication

If death is a harsh sentence for all but the flattest fictional characters, then one is left with the uncomfortable sense that the Ayreses have been needlessly murdered by progress and social change, which doesn’t feel quite right either.

May 29 2009 | Read Full Review of The Little Stranger

The New York Times

See more reviews from this publication

In this novel of postwar anxiety, members of a decaying upper-crust English family start to come to sticky ends in their creepy mansion.

May 31 2009 | Read Full Review of The Little Stranger

The Guardian

See more reviews from this publication

And then at the novel's end, wandering the dilapidated, empty house, the narrator muses on how the house survives all: "It is as if the house has thrown the family off, like springing turf throwing off a footprint."

Jul 30 2010 | Read Full Review of The Little Stranger

The Guardian

See more reviews from this publication

He tells of his deepening involvement in the lives of a once-grand local family – the widowed Mrs Ayres and her adult children, Roderick and Caroline – who live in much reduced circumstances in their huge mouldering house, Hundreds Hall.

Jul 23 2010 | Read Full Review of The Little Stranger

The Guardian

See more reviews from this publication

The Ayres were big people in the village but after that summer they lived more privately: their daughter Susan died of diphtheria and their later children, Roderick and Caroline, kept themselves to themselves.

Jun 02 2009 | Read Full Review of The Little Stranger

The Guardian

See more reviews from this publication

Sarah Waters has made a name for herself not only by setting her novels in the past, but by following in the footsteps of other writers and reworking established genres.

May 31 2009 | Read Full Review of The Little Stranger

The Guardian

See more reviews from this publication

however much we pity the family at Hundreds Hall, as their ancestral pile and their sanity collapse about them, Waters never lets us lose sight of their repulsive social attitudes.

May 23 2009 | Read Full Review of The Little Stranger

BC Books

See more reviews from this publication

His son Roderick, who was horribly injured during the war, is trying to manage the remaining farm and house with his scars and limp.

Jun 15 2009 | Read Full Review of The Little Stranger

Book Reporter

After two hundred years, those people had begun to withdraw their labour, their belief in the house, and the house was collapsing, like a pyramid of cards.” And that is really the moving force of THE LITTLE STRANGER: the push and pull between Dr. Faraday, the man of humble origins who is entrance...

Dec 30 2010 | Read Full Review of The Little Stranger

The Washington Post

(In one particularly dire moment, Dr. Faraday says, "It's as if -- well, as if something's slowly sucking the life out of the whole family," and a friend replies, "It's called a Labour Government.") Also, English readers may remember seeing impressive estates like Hundreds Hall broken up, turned ...

May 20 2009 | Read Full Review of The Little Stranger

The Telegraph

Everything, from Mrs Ayres’s 'absurdly over-engineered shoes’, to the hairs on Caroline’s legs – each one 'laden with dust, like an eye-blacked lash’ – is described with a wonderfully sharp eye.

May 17 2009 | Read Full Review of The Little Stranger

The Telegraph

Earlier Mrs Ayres, speaking to the doctor and the maid, had ascribed the disappearance of her spectacles to her own forgetfulness, and spoken wistfully of a great aunt who had a pet monkey to carry things round for her: “I’m sure we could find you a monkey, if you’d like one of your o...

May 29 2009 | Read Full Review of The Little Stranger

USA Today

Prepare for serious chills on the beach with Sarah Waters' smart ghost story.

| Read Full Review of The Little Stranger

London Review of Books

It’s easy, especially for those of a conventional turn of mind, to think that what’s conventional is the same as what’s normal, and that what’s normal is the same as what’s sane.

| Read Full Review of The Little Stranger

Library Journal

Ostensibly there to treat Roderick Ayres for a war injury, Faraday soon sees signs of mental decline—first in Roderick and later in his mother, Mrs. Ayres.

Jun 02 2009 | Read Full Review of The Little Stranger

Reader Rating for The Little Stranger
66%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 318 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


Rate this book!

Add Review

Reader reviews & activity

Paige

Paige 9 May 2016

Liked the book

Shauna

Shauna 21 Oct 2014

Liked the book

×