Thursday, May 15, 2014

An inbetweener: The Little Stranger

The Little Stranger is a multitude of books. 
It's a ghost story. 
It's a post-war epilogue of life in England and mainly life for the upper classes, the dying class of that particular day and age.
It's an unconventional love story. 
It's about deterioration and not adjusting to a changing time. 

All that combined in a unique novel is extraordinary. Waters is a master with words. She has an uncanny wit about her and with her dialogues and prose in old english style you feel like you are reading a novel from an early 20th century author. 

The whole novel is the point of view of a single character, Dr Faraday, a country doctor, who becomes entangled with the Ayres and their estate Hundreds Hall. 
His somewhat dry and dull way of seeing life somehow suits it well. 
You come to love him and you come to want to smack his head against a brick wall as well. 

In what seems at first to be a struggling upperclass family, Faraday soon realises more is underneath the surface. 
For not wanting to share too many details for those who still are to read this book, I'll be brief and hopefully as spoilerfree as can be. 

This is a ghost story, I said earlier, but ask me later and I'd say it's not. 
This novel made me change my mind over and over. 
Sometimes I wholeheartedly agreed with Faraday, stating that mental decay was the seed that brought on everything. 
And other times I knew there had to be something, that there had to be a presence of some kind, haunting the inhabitants of Hundreds. 

I can't put my finger on it quite yet, I may need a reread before I'm absolutely positive which of these former statements is true. 
For now.. I don't think there was a ghost as such, but that the presence of Faraday himself, set a lot in motion. 
This may sound very eary, but when reading the novel, you'll know what I mean. 

Characterwise, this is a gem, but it needs adapting to the prose, I do warn you for that. Don't put it aside, because of it, I promise, once used to it, you'll feel the eariness and chills this book will definitely give you. 
In many ways, it reminded me of a movie, The Blair Witch Project. Equally unclear, but giving goosebumps nonetheless.

My score: 8 out of 10.