I started listening to Sarah Waters’ new book The Little Stranger on Friday last week, while I was doing reluctant battle with the rowing machine. Usually audiobooks are exercise-only entertainment. This weekend I snuck in an extra chapter while toiling over the litter boxes (we have 5 cats – it takes a while) and tuned-in again while driving to work today (time usually reserved for off-key singalongs to ‘Deewangi Deewangi’ and other filmi classics.)
I’m on the 3rd disc of 13, and nothing has ‘happened’ in any great plot-forwarding sense. I could care less. I want constantly to go back there, to be there– ‘there’ being tumbledown Hundreds Hall in 1949 — with the doctor, and Caroline, and watch the wallpaper peel as the days go by.
This is supposedly a ghost story and I’ve been having fun looking for the tiniest crumbs of supernatural foreshadowing, which are both few and shy. There has been no apparition, no bad luck, not even a feeling of unease. If I weren’t pre-fixed with the notion of a haunting, I doubt I’d even catch them.
I usually don’t listen to authors I enjoy this much-I want to savor them on the page, but I came to Waters through audiobooks – first with The Night Watch, then Fingersmith, so I decided not to interrupt a good thing. I think I’d listen to Waters no matter what subject she writes about. She is a storyteller, in the old-fashioned way, like Trollope or Austen or Ursula LeGuin. It doesn’t matter what she’s saying, I just want her to go on saying it.
But don’t you like the UK cover better?