“The Little Stranger” by Sarah Waters – enigmatic tale of declining English gentry, haunted by their past

little stranger

 

In this period piece, Sarah Waters provides a fascinating window on the demise of the English landed gentry at the end of World War Two.

She creates a fundamentally ambiguous tale of gentry fallen on hard times who seem to be literally haunted by their past and entombed in the wealth-turned-to-debt of their isolated manor house.

Yet this is more than an essay on class decay or even on the impact of the supernatural. Waters’ has the rare ability to expose the small nuances emotion that drive our behaviour, some times almost against our own will.

This novel reminds me of Edith Wharton’s “The House of Mirth” in its ability to chronicle the changes of mood and context that even a single evening can hold.

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