Review – The Little Stranger, by Sarah Waters

I’ve mulled over my review of The Little Stranger for a couple of days. I wanted to enjoy this book more. Not that there weren’t parts that interested me. There were, but it felt lacking, and I’m rather stodgy in liking there to be some explanation or conclusion at the end.

The Little Stranger is set in England right after World War II. Dr. Faraday is called to the Ayre’s home, The Hundreds. The Ayre’s are an old family living in a once beautiful, but now crumbling, country home. Like so many gentry in that time, they are struggling to pay taxes and keep things running. The generation after the second war, like that of the Great War, aren’t inclined to be servants whose sole purpose in life is to make a higher class family more comfortable.

The present Ayre’s are reduced to almost living in squalor inside the Hundreds. As each member of the family succumbs to insanity, or suicide, or the stress of constant terror, I wondered if it was a ghost, or something more? Could there be someone intent on terrorizing the family? The ghost of a dead child? Or an evil spirit who followed the son back from World War II?

The author goes into great detail about the state of Hundreds. The water damage, crumbling infrastructure, and rapid decay of a large home not tended to. Whether the author meant this to symbolize England of that time, or was just bringing home that the house was dying like it’s inhabitants, I do not know.

That’s what has bothered me about reading this book. I know nothing more about the mystery than when I first cracked the spine. I’d like to know who the Little Stranger was? At the end, the daughter sees the stranger and exclaims, “You”. Who was “You”?

Have you read this book? If so, what or who do you think was terrorizing the family?

3 thoughts on “Review – The Little Stranger, by Sarah Waters

  1. Hello ! I did not read this novel, nor any other from this authoress ( ? )… but I searched, and found that there are some translations in ” 10/18 ” ( French pocket éditions ).
    Thank you for your article.

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