I read ‘The Little Stranger’ by Sarah Waters over seven years ago before I started my blog and reread it this month when the film adaptation was released in the UK. Set in the Warwickshire countryside in the late 1940s, Dr Faraday is called to Hundreds Hall, a once grand now derelict stately home where his mother once worked as a maid and which he has long viewed with fascination since he was a child. Occupied by the Ayres family for more than two centuries, the house is now in decline with just Mrs Ayres and her two adult children Caroline and Roderick struggling to manage the estate on their own. Roderick sustained serious injuries during the war and when Faraday offers some treatment for his leg, his regular visits to Hundreds Hall see him become increasingly more involved in the family’s affairs. Continue reading
Tag Archives: Sarah Waters
Thousands of volunteers and institutions will be getting involved with World Book Night tomorrow and giving away around 250,000 special editions of 20 different books to people in their communities. While World Book Day celebrates reading specifically for children, World Book Night was established in 2011 as an alternative celebration for adults. 35% of the population in the UK never read for pleasure and World Book Night is about reaching as many people as possible who don’t regularly read, particularly in prisons, hospitals, care homes and homeless shelters. As well as improving literacy and employability, reading has profound positive effects including social interaction through participating in book groups, as well as general well-being and happiness.
This year’s Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction longlist was announced today. The twenty novels are:
Outline by Rachel Cusk Crooked Heart by Lissa Evans Aren’t We Sisters? by Patricia Ferguson I Am China by Xiaolu Guo Dear Thief by Samantha Harvey Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel The Offering by Grace McCleen The Country of Ice Cream Star by Sandra Newman The Girl Who Was Saturday Night by Heather O’Neil The Bees by Laline Paull The Table of Less Valued Knights by Marie Phillips The Walk Home by Rachel Seiffert A God in Every Stone by Kamila Shamsie How to be Both by Ali Smith The Shore by Sara Taylor A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters After Before by Jemma Wayne The Life of a Banana by PP Wong
One of of my reading resolutions this year has been to get through more of the books I already have on my shelves and Kindle. I have been making some slow and steady progress recently but, as always, I still have my eye on the latest books. Here are a few I am particularly looking forward to which have not yet been published:
Having read all of her other books, I finally got round to reading Sarah Waters’ début novel ‘Tipping the Velvet’ this week. This picaresque coming-of-age tale set in the 1890s sees Nancy Astley, an oyster-girl from Whitstable run off to London with music hall performer Kitty Butler who later becomes her lover and co-star on the stage. When her career comes to an abrupt end, Nancy journeys through London exploring her sexuality and experiencing plenty of love, lust and heartbreak along the way.
Although much of what has been written about ‘Tipping the Velvet’ focuses on the presence of lesbian characters, the fact that Sarah Waters is a master of good old-fashioned storytelling must not be overlooked. She knows how to weave an intriguing plot with believable characters. As with all of her other books, the level of historical detail is impressive and blends into the story effortlessly without being either overwhelming or irrelevant – and that even goes for the detailed descriptions of Victorian sex toys. Continue reading