Genre: gothic novel and mystery. ⭐️Stars from Goodreads: 3.5. ⭐️Stars from me: 5.
General information about The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters
The Little Stranger is a story about a noble English family living through the days of their financial decline in their quickly dilapidating mansion. A local doctor befriends them during a professional visit to the family’s only servant. The doctor watches how the family is trying to stay true to themselves while their house is falling apart, and some strange and scary things start happening in it.
There’s now a movie adaptation of the book but it looks like the movie isn’t even remotely as deep and multilayered as the book is (and the doctor looks about 15 years younger than he should be). Here’s the trailer if you are interested.
I listened to the audio version of The Little Stranger, and I’m sure that I liked the book so much, largely thanks to the Simon Vance who was reading the story. His narration is perfect. He created different intonations and melodies for each character. They are very distinctive but not overplayed. In fact, he sounds so natural, I sometimes forgot he was not telling his life story but reading a work of fiction aloud.
What I liked about the book
The atmosphere is palpable. You can breathe in the cold humid air, see the fields and admire the old mansion. When the scary things start happening, they frighten you not because of what they are, but because of how real they feel.
The characters are very well developed and deep. It’s hard to believe they are not real people. I was almost brought to tears when something horrible happened to one of them because I had grown so fond of this character.
The most awesome thing about The Little Stranger
The most awesome thing about the book is its story. The events can be interpreted in several different ways. I’m sure each reader will perceive the book differently. To some it will be a creepy gothic story, to others it will be purely psychological. To someone else it will be something more. The author never spells things out for you. It doesn’t mean that there are open endings or gaps left by a lazy writer for a reader to fill in on their own. You have to be really vigilant and careful to see what’s really going on. That’s why I think this book is genius. The Little Stranger will definitely make it to the best books I’ve read this year. I was actually so impressed with the ending I created a separate discussion page (spoiler warning for that discussion page). I would really love to discuss the ending with others who have read the book. Please, visit the page if you finished the book and share your thoughts!
What I didn’t like about The Little Stranger
There was really nothing I disliked. If I wanted to be truly meticulous I’d say that there could be more action in the first part of the story. I found it developing rather slowly there. That being said, I was so immersed into the whole atmosphere, the house, the characters that I didn’t really need anything else. I was enjoying the book completely.
Would I recommend The Little Stranger?
I would urge everybody to read The Little Stranger. Although this book is a bit slow for a typical thriller, I think it might still be liked by those who like reading thrillers. I would definitely recommend it to anybody who loves gothic literature, classic stories and the atmosphere of old England.