Tuesday, 12 February 2013

April 2010 - The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters

This book was a great choice for a book club - It created plenty of discussion.

The general consensus was that Sarah Waters is a magnificent, beautifully detailed author and the majority of us are now planning on reading some of her other books such as Tipping the Velvet, The Night Watch and Fingersmith (all of which seem to get better reviews than The Little Stranger). Her writing style could perhaps be the reason this book scored fairly high on our marks out of 10.

However there were points which drag the review down, namely being far too long (about 150 pages too long) and a poor ending. The group felt 500 pages was a lot to plough through for the ending we were given. A few members found that the final paragraph was conclusive, others felt frustrated by the lack of answers.

The characters were all generally pretty cold - Whether that was the aim of the author due to the book projecting a cold atmosphere to the reader or just the audience being unable to empathise with them. The lead character was Dr Faraday - The narrator, the majority of the group felt that Faraday was an unreliable narrator, having to trust his word for all the events and disturbances that happened. We hear of Caroline and Rod's experiences for example, through the eyes of Dr Faraday, without hearing directly what their version of events were. I think we all agreed that the house itself became the central character, just like an classic horror movie.
The group discussed the possibility that Dr Faraday himself was the perpertrator, the poltegiest, the mad man or however else it should be put. The final paragraph confirming that fact:
" I'll imagine that the secret is about to be revealed to meat last; that I will see what Caroline Saw, and recognise it as she did. If Hundreds Hall is haunted, however, its ghost doesn't show itself to me. For I'll turn, and am disappointed - Realising that what I am looking at is only a cracked window pane, and that the face gazing distortedly from it, baffled and longing, is my own."

It makes you think back, and also reconsider that these distubances only seemed start or increase once Faraday came back to "his" Hundreds Hall. He seemed to be more in love with the house than Caroline. People say if you read the book again, you will understand it better from the point of Faraday.

Some people are still unsure of the spirit/person/thing responsible for the events, even after the final paragraph, either undecided, confused or torn between Faraday, Susan or even... all of the characters!

We had an attendance of 11 and we gave it an average rating of 7 out of 10.

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