Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters

After World War II, something haunts a crumbling English mansion

Perhaps my opinion here is more a commentary on modern attention spans, rather than the quality of this one book. But I couldn’t finish it. Nothing happened for pages and pages. I usually read on a plane (ideal) or in 15 minutes chunks at the end of the day, which is how I read this novel. I had heard good things about this writer and was eager to read her, but the novel was like a pleasant warm bath that you could see was going to go on for 9 hours. The prose style was relentlessly bland. The characters seemed distinct but not really very compelling and the story was so slow moving, even though the story was haunting and I did think sometimes about the book when I wasn’t reading it. I debated stopping several times before I finally did. My son asked me to check his math homework and I happily dropped the book to do so. That’s when I knew I should quit.

Part of it is probably that the demise of the English class system holds little resonance for an (Irish) American.

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