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Reader’s Den

The Little Stranger, Part 3


Welcome back! Thank you so much for reading the book with me and for posting your comments. I'm very glad that you are all enjoying the book! Thanks to the reader who brings up the supernatural element in The Little Stranger. We're ready to discuss this aspect of the novel, so let's get started.

"There's a bad thing in this house, that's what! There's a bad thing, and he makes wicked things happen!" Says Betty in chapter four.

In chapter five, Roderick describes the strange events in his room on the night of the party and tells Faraday that a "malevolent thing" had tried to hurt him and and was still waiting to do him harm, " ... like a sly, spiteful child. It sets traps for me."

The furniture moves by itself, causing Roderick to injure himself, fires start and spread without any reason, there are peculiar squiggles on the woodwork, the bell rings by itself in the kitchen, the disused old speaking tube suddenly starting to whistle, Mrs. Ayres is terrorized in the old nursery when she is locked in and sees a "quick dark figure passed and re-passed the door, again and again."

Is Hundreds Hall haunted? Who or what haunts Hundreds Hall? Is it Susan, as Mrs. Ayres believes? "My darling girl. I've wanted her to come, you see, so desperately. I've felt her, here in this house."

Even Caroline is convinced in chapter ten, "It's something in this house! Something that's been here all along, and has just ... woken up. Or something that's come here, to punish and spite us."

How does Doctor Faraday, a man of science, deal with the various reports of inexplicable events and sounds?

How do we, as readers, explain the odd events? Is The Little Stranger a ghost story, a tale of a haunted house?

Or is it the story of a helpless family, unable to cope with changes and tormented by their own demons?

Please feel free to post your comments and insights.

Readers who enjoy a good ghost story may want to check out The Woman in Black by Susan Hill or watch the DVD. The Monkey's Paw by W.W. Jacobs is a chilling story for readers who like the genre. Rustication by Charles Palliser describes the unravelling of a family—mother, sister and brother—following death and scandal.

I haven't been specifying page limits because every reader reads at his or her own pace. So far we have discussed the themes of class (and readers who are interested in exploring this more may want to check out George Gently Series 5, episode 2, to see how fierce the class struggle was even twenty years after the Second War) and the supernatural. Next time I hope to discuss the characters and read your impressions of Faraday and Caroline and their relationship. Till then, happy reading!


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