The Little Stranger ending discussion

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This is an experimental post about The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters. Here’s a major warning: there are SPOILERS in the text! They are there because I want to discuss what precisely happens in the book. I published the spoiler-free review of this book separately on my blog.

If you have read the book I will be SO happy if you join in with your thoughts! I think the ending is not as transparent as it looks.

Warning, below come SPOILERS!

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So, who or what do you think the major evil in the book is?

I think it is the doctor himself! I think so because:

1. He’s been always obsessed with the house, since he was a small kid. He peeled away and kept some part of the decoration (I don’t remember precisely what it was. Was it a piece of wallpaper?)

2. When his mum discovers what he’s done, she looks at him in a very peculiar way, as if there was something particularly scary about him.

3. Throughout the book he proclaims his love to the mansion, and keeps persuading people living there that something can be done to help its condition.

4. Caroline tells him that the weird things have started happening in the house since he appeared.

5. He goes completely nuts when Caroline decides to sell the house. Whenever he reasons with her, he mentions not their relationships, but the house. Caroline herself points it out to him. She says he doesn’t want HER, he wants to be the owner of the house.

6. At the night of Caroline’s death, he’s stuck somewhere in the woods, and he says he loses the track of time or the understanding of where he is.

7. The following morning he hides this fact from his colleague, and lies that he was in the hospital at the time of Caroline’s fall, although he remembers being just 2 miles away from her house.

8. He still keeps the key, and he keeps on visiting the house, looking for answers, but all he can see is … his reflection in the window!

Thus, I’m sure it’s Dr Faraday himself who wiped out the whole family. I’m not sure if he did this physically, as an unreliable narrator, drugging the family, having access to medications, to rooms, or he was that poltergeist that Caroline was talking about.

That’s why I thought the book was genius. It was never spelled out for the readers. One could have easily finish the book thinking there was some spookiness that killed the whole family. And the awesome thing is, that would also make it a complete story! Anybody can choose any variant of what the story actually is about, and the story would still work.

I’m completely amazed! What a perfect way to build a story! Please, please, tell me what you think! The only reason I wrote this post is because I want to know what YOU think.

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