Monday, 25 May 2009

The Little Stranger

I couldn't resist starting this straight away; I didn't even manage to hold onto it until today to read in my teabreaks (yes, I have to work on the Bank Holiday - they're not observed at Oxford in termtime).
I was hugely disappointed as for me it didn't live up to any of Sarah Waters' previous books. her last novel was a departure from the victoriana, but it worked, and was a gripping read. This book was readable but nothing special. One of the things that makes her books special is the level of historical detail, so that you feel as if you are learning something by reading the novel - I've learnt about victorian prisons, and theatre. This is set in a country house, post-second world war, but there wasn't enough detail to make this significant. Secondly, the plot was very straightforward, and even though it was a ghost story I didn't find it either scary or page turning. And finally (and I'm sure this will be controversial among Sarah Waters' fans) all of the characters are straight! A definite departure. Anyway, I read through it, and quite enjoyed it, but it by no means lived up to my expectations.
So what will I be reading on my teabreaks today then? Well, I spent my first tea break having a browse in Waterstones. I was delighted to find that they had a book which I really wanted to read (but forgot to look for yesterday) - Coles' Well-tempered clavier. Then I stumbled upon a book called the Dud Avocado, by an author I've not come across called Elaine Dundy. To be honest the content doesn't look as if it hugely appeals to me, but it's a Virago, and who could resist a book with a title like that? And then I bought Quartet in Autumn, another Pym, which I've read, but not got.


  1. I agree - it was a bit of a disappointment. All your points were very well made and I agree with them all, but I think the main problem was that the plot was too simple. I could have forgiven it if the there was a really clever twist in the end. It was gripping all the way through though, so perhaps we are just setting the bar too high for her? She'll never be able to write another Fingersmith.

  2. Thanks for visiting my blog - you're the first person to comment on it!
    Yes, you're right about the plot being too simple. Or at least compared to her earlier books; the first three had so many twists and turns, and The Night Watch had the clever device of working backwards. I have to say I wouldn't call it gripping though.

  3. I'm happy to be the first person to comment on your blog! I'm really suprised though - I'll have to give your blog a mention some time soon. Hopefully you'll get lots of visitors in the future. Keep up the good work!!

  4. I only started it last weekend (although I've had lots to say and have lots to say in the future!)!


Do leave a comment - I love to hear from people who read my blog.