I was very excited to begin reading The Little Stranger but admittedly also a little nervous. This was my first Sarah Waters experience, and so many of my favorite bloggers love her – what if I didn’t feel the same way? I’m glad I didn’t waste too much time worrying about that, though, because this book was everything I’d hoped it would be and more.
Here are some of the elements of The Little Stranger: a post-WWII setting, a creepy/possibly haunted old house (called Hundreds Hall – now if that’s not a creepy house name, I don’t know what is!), a strange and reclusive family, and a doctor named Daniel Faraday who grows close to this family and their house. Oh, and some absolutely fantastic writing. If this list to you makes an awesomely strange, creepy book, then you should just stop reading what I have to say about it and go read it for yourself. Because, to me, it was great and that’s all you need to know.
If you need a bit more convincing, I will stress once again that Sarah Waters’ writing is incredibly incredible. There’s no other way to say it, she’s just that good. I was torn between wanting to race through the book to find out what the heck was going on and wanting to slow down and savor every word. Not many authors can make that happen for me, and I suspect I’ll be reading much more from Waters because of it.
The Little Stranger is packed with so much fruit ripe for discussion that I can’t even begin to cover it here. But I will say that while it is a story about a haunted house, it is SO much more than that. It is a psychological thriller that also asks questions about relationships, about class, about what it means to have money and what it means to not, about medicine and mental illness in the 1950′s, and more. I actually want to read it again to allow myself the opportunity of digesting all that Waters presented, and I probably will at some point. I was so concerned with what was happening with this darn house that I’m sure I missed a lot. For this reason, The Little Stranger would make an excellent book club pick. I almost never say that (because I’m not in a book club it doesn’t typically occur to me) but in this case, there’s just SO much to discuss that it begs to be read by a group.
While I’ve seen some negative reviews of this book, I personally could not disagree more – I absolutely loved it and will be reading more of Sarah Waters in the very near future. Most highly recommended.