Thursday, 22 April 2010

Just Finished: The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters

Last night I awoke from a dream about being stuck in a lift convinced that there was something spooky in my room. There wasn't, I don't think, but I was stuck half way between being asleep and being awake. This happens to me quite often - earlier in the week I convinced myself that the moon was moving to a different point in the sky each time I shut my eyes. I realise now that I didn't just shut my eyes, I fell asleep for ages then woke up again and so the moon had actually moved. Yes, I had had a drink. But alcohol was not what made me think my room was haunted - that was Sarah Waters' fault.

The Little Stranger is set after World War 2, in Warwickshire (which is where I went to university, incidentally). It follows a doctor who, over the course of the book, becomes close to the upper class family who live in a big, old house. Yes - I see what you're thinking - a big, old house, a's been done. But this is a very clever book. Firstly because it moves incredibly slowly without being boring. It's a long old read before even a whisper of paranormal activity. What's even better is the books commentary of social change in the postwar years - the rise of the middle class, the decline of the aristocracy, even woman's rights. It was evidently a tumultuous time, and Waters captures in a really vivid, detailed way.

And it is spooky. Very spooky. It's like the only sort of horror film I'll watch: one where you don't see what's scaring you or what people are running from - the monster is in your imagination and you can only see its traces. Take Signs for example - brilliant film, until you see the shit alien costume and find out it's scared of water. Describing just enough, but leaving the rest to the imagination is the best way, in my humble opinion, of really scaring the b'jesus out of someone. And that's what this book does. Anything that wriggles its way into your subconcious so that you wake up thinking there's a dead Edwardian child in your room must be pretty effective.

Next up: Mao's Last Dancer by Li Cunxin...not something I'd normally choose (it's an autobiography for a start, which I've never been into) but I've joined N's book first one. Eeek.

PS Well done FFC for holding out against the mighty Hamburg...COYW!


  1. Can I borrow that book? No? Then I'll just buy one. Hehe.

  2. Oooh, sounds interesting! I'll put it on my to-read list:)

  3. WOw,looks like something I'd love to read,and watch[if it were a movie] from behind the cushions.Yep,like gnetch I'm thinking I'll buy one heh :)
    P.S: Thanks for the follow and the comment =)
    Pardon me,I use a lot of * :) =) :P*
    Um yea.