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The Little Stranger Audio CD – Audiobook, CD, Unabridged


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Product details

  • Audio CD: 1 pages
  • Publisher: Hachette Audio; Unabridged edition (28 May 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1405505923
  • ISBN-13: 978-1405505925
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 3.7 x 13.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (379 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 308,723 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Sarah Waters was born in Wales in 1966 and lives in London. Author of Tipping the Velvet, Affinity, Fingersmith and The Night Watch, her most recent book is The Little Stranger. All of her books have attracted prizes: she won a Betty Trask Award, the Somerset Maugham Award and was twice shortlisted for the Mail on Sunday/John Llewellyn Rhys Prize. Fingersmith and The Night Watch were both shortlisted for the Man Booker and Orange prizes, and Fingersmith won the CWA Ellis Peters Dagger Award for Historical Crime Fiction and the South Bank Show Award for Literature. Tipping the Velvet, Affinity and Fingersmith have all been adapted for television.

The Little Stranger was a bestselling hardback and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.

Product Description

Review

It's a gripping story, with beguiling characters . . . As well as being a supernatural tale, it is a meditation on the nature of the British and class, and how things are rarely what they seem. Chilling (Kate Mosse, The Times, Summer Read)

Waters writes with a firm, confident hand, deftly building an atmosphere that begins in a still, hot summer and gradually darkens and tightens until we are as gripped by the escalating horror as the Ayres are. (Tracy Chevalier, Observer)

By now readers must be confident of her mastery of storytelling . . . While at one turn, the novel looks to be a ghost story, the next it is a psychological drama . . . But it is also a brilliantly observed story, verging on the comedy, about Britain on the cusp of modern age . . . The writing is subtle and poised (Joy lo Dico, Independent on Sunday)

Displaying her remarkable flair for period evocation, Waters recreates backwater Britain just after the Second World War with atmospheric immediacy . . . Acute and absorbing (Peter Kemp, Sunday Times) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

`A gripping story, with beguiling characters . . . As well as being a supernatural tale, it is a meditation on the nature of the British and class, and how things are rarely what they seem. Chilling' Kate Mosse, The Times, Summer Read --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

462 of 479 people found the following review helpful By Gregory S. Buzwell TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 6 Jun 2009
Format: Hardcover
To be honest I have always had a bit of a soft spot for ghost stories but even allowing for a certain bias regarding the subject matter this is without doubt a blindingly good novel. On the surface it is all so deceptively simple. A country doctor, approaching a dreary and unloved middle age, finds himself paying regular visits to the local stately pile where he encounters the once grand but now rather moth-eaten Ayres family. Soon afterwards strange and seemingly supernatural events begin to take place: the formerly placid family dog attacks a small child; strange marks appear on the walls; bells ring for no apparent reason; doors occasionally seem to lock themselves and sinister scribbles inexplicably turn up on doors and windowsills. Dr Faraday seeks, and believes he finds, a rational explanation for the strange events but the Ayres are altogether less sure.

What makes this apparently rather simple set-up so compelling is the skill with which Waters applies layer after gentle, rustling layer of doubt, paranoia and unease. Dr Faraday is, for example, a far from perfect narrator. Unimaginative, class-conscious and painfully aware that he doesn't have the 'right accent' to fit in with the grand Ayres he finds himself alternating between cloying resentment towards the family one minute and fawning servility the next. In turn the Ayres have fallen on financially ruinous times and the - from their perspective - frankly unpleasant plebian classes are literally encroaching on Ayres territory in the form of council houses being built on land skirting Hundreds Hall. Working class on the way up collides with landed gentry on the way down. The whole situation is a portrait in minature of post-war England preparing to tear itself apart.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By R. C. Harris TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 18 Sep 2012
Format: Paperback
Previous reviews have explained the plot and context.

It is beautifully written, but no bundle of laughs for sure. The story line went from tragedy to miserable tragedy without a single lighter note to complement the gloom. I didn't exactly feel like slashing my wrists before the end, but then my aptitude for self preservation is pretty well refined.

However, the ambience is quite perfect and you can almost believe that this was actually written during early post war Britain.

The characters themselves are very believable, and creep under your skin. There is Dr Faraday, a balding middle aged doctor, uncertain of his status in a socially changing society. The bright but plain and frumpish daughter, Caroline. The mother, in fear of the changes infiltrating the family way of life, and stoically facing impending ruin. You could almost feel the white of their knuckles as they cling on to tradition. A nice touch was the evening party where many came in evening dress but the lounge suits also arrived. A real metaphor for the changing social scene.

The growing relationship between the hesitant working class doctor and landed gentry Caroline is handled with fine delicacy, like watching a flower bloom.

The supernatural element began well, with just enough doubt to make you wonder if it is imagined or if something else was going on? Though the theme seemed to lose its way as the tale progressed, and eventually became simply bumps in the night. Despite that, it remained distinctly creepy.

So, why at the end did I feel rather depressed and disappointed? I accept that real life drama rarely answers all questions or provides for a nice neat ending. But I had anticipated a final proverbial rabbit out of the hat, as in Sarah Walter's book Affinity. Something that would tie up the story ends sufficiently to satisfy. But it never happened. Pity.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ms. K. Johnston on 29 Dec 2009
Format: Hardcover
I have only read one Sarah Waters novel, Affinity, so looked forward to The Little Stranger. Foul weather, so a perfect read, or so I thought. The novel starts slowly but I took an instant dislike to the narrator, Dr Faraday, who is a snob of the worst kind and has a monstrous chip on his shoulder to boot. I could almost see him tugging his forelock to Mrs Ayres, despite resenting her for her class. His opinion of Caroline, the daughter of Hundreds Hall, is very negative and misogynistic and he clearly prefers her mother. Waters gives clues to Dr Faraday's personality little by little and he is in that twilight zone between fitting in and not fitting in, seeming to resent everyone.

Waters sets the scene rather skilfully but it takes almost 100 pages for the first "incident" to occur, involving the family dog, Gyp. Then the tension starts building, although I felt there was too much signposting. The characters of Mrs Ayres, Caroline and Roderick are beautifully done but I secretly cheered when Caroline takes her revenge on the creepy doctor.

While reading the novel, I was reminded of another novel called The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson (later filmed in 1963 as The Haunting) where a malevolent spirit singles out one specific victim. In The Little Stranger there are three victims and the house achieves its aim.

I recently read The Seance by John Harwood and much preferred it to The Little Stranger as I felt the author had caught the Gothic atmosphere perfectly.
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