This post is long overdue so please accept my apologies. Back in April, we met at the White Horse in Leamington to chat about our latest book club selection, The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters. It was a really fun discussion with a good variety of opinions on both the characters and the book’s ending which some felt was obvious but others had interpreted totally differently! We took some questions with us so I will reproduce a couple of these below with some comments made by the group. These questions were taken from the TV Book Club.
Do you think Dr Faraday is a reliable narrator?
I think this was a point in which we were all in agreement although the extent to his deceit seemed to correlate with how gullible we are! I am speaking for myself particularly here. Perhaps a nicer way of putting it is that the less cynical of us trusted his account more than the others! A good proportion of the members took a strong dislike to him at best, and at worst, pegged him as the cause of the deaths and misfortune at the house. A couple of us (me included) thought that he was not exactly the most likeable character but took his story more at face value.
Did you find the novel frightening?
Again, I think we were all in agreement that the book had a creepiness and a tension which made it somewhat frightening – Caroline mentioned that she switched to reading it on her commute rather than in bed! Carys, who was the first to ‘out’ Dr Faraday as the murderer, expressed her disappointment with her decidedly un-supernatural reading of the ending. For me, since I was one of the few who did not think that Dr Faraday was the cause of the deaths and the strange goings on, I thought the ambiguous ending was even more unnerving since the unexplained is always more scary than the explainable.
Did you enjoy the way the author portrayed the faltering romance between Dr Faraday and Caroline?
I am not sure that ‘enjoy’ is the right word to use. In fact, I would say that most of us felt rather uncomfortable with this romance but again our feelings about this largely depended on how much we liked, or rather disliked, the main character Faraday. Roisin mentioned how Faraday’s initial rather uncharitable descriptions of her contributed to her strong dislike for Faraday. I found myself rooting for them despite myself but this might be more down to my propensity for romantic sappiness.
If you were at the book club discussion and would like to add your views, then please do so in the comments. Similarly, if you have read the book, let us know what you thought of it.
Our next book, due for discussion in July is Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China by Jung Chang.