The Little Stranger

The Little Stranger - Sarah Waters One of the more enjoyable aspects of Sarah Waters' slow paced (occasionally excruciatingly so) ghost novel, "The Little Stranger," is how subtle and contemplative its frights are, rather than being necessarily immediate or shocking. The ending is cleverly done – and softly done – so much so that to hint at it might ruin the question Waters finally poses; a frustrating notion since the slower tone and pace of the novel, combined with readers' preexisting expectations for what makes a good "ghost story," may be off-putting to some. Moments come in "The Little Stranger" when the reader wonders when the novel will resemble the shock dramas he might see in a film. Considering its ending, however (despite a somewhat overused setting for the concept of confession as revelation), that same reader will likely want to revisit the novel after they've finished – to string together pieces of the ghost story, the lives of the Ayres family and friends, and the importance of a key conversation between two non-family characters. The result is a book whose final questions are as philosophical as they are, um, spiritual. It doesn't seem right to say more, but given patience and a faith in Sarah Waters' already proven abilities, "The Little Stranger" is a very rewarding, if not the most frightening, tale of spirit and soul, obsession and haunting, curse and cause.