Sarah Waters
The Little Stranger


The Little Stranger by Sarah WatersIn a dusty post-war summer in rural Warwickshire, a doctor is called to a patient at lonely Hundreds Hall. Home to the Ayres family for over two centuries, the Georgian house, once grand and handsome, is now in decline, its masonry crumbling, its gardens choked with weeds, the clock in its stable yard permanently fixed at twenty to nine. Its owners—mother, son and daughter—are struggling to keep pace with a changing society, as well as with conflicts of their own.

But are the Ayreses haunted by something more sinister than a dying way of life?

Prepare yourself. From this wonderful writer who continues to astonish us, now comes a chilling ghost story.

UK Bestseller
National Bestseller

Shortlisted for the 2009 Booker Prize

A New York Time’s Notable Book of 2009
A Salon Top Five Fiction Pick of 2009
A The Sunday Times (UK) 100 best holiday reads selection

“Sarah Waters is an excellent, evocative writer, and this is an incredibly gripping and readable novel.” —The New York Times

“Sarah Waters’ masterly novel is a perverse hymn to decay [managed] with consummate, quiet skill.  Gripping, confident, unnerving and supremely entertaining.” —Hilary Mantel  

“[Sarah Waters] has, quite single-handedly, renewed the whole genre of the spooky Gothic novel.  Quite a feat.” —Evening Standard  

“A mesmerising ghost story [with a] gripping supernatural climax.” —The Observer Magazine  

“Combines the Gothic gloom of Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw, with the generic reference points of Agatha Christie...  A ghost story which only ever tip-toes around horror, never fully enacting it… she creates eerie rumblings within everyday reality [and] unleashes a demonic little stranger to play parlour games with our minds.” —The Independent  

“Waters has been called a pasticheur, but her artistry is altogether more serious than the term would suggest… [Her] juxtaposition of a time of political change with the haunted interior world of Hundreds Hall is ambitious and original.” —The Times   

“Darkly atmospheric… An eerie ghost story mixed with piercing class commentary, Waters’ latest is downright haunting.” —Booklist  

“A marvellous and truly spooky historical novel.”—Boston Globe  

“Waters’ fifth novel… proves she can tip considerably more than the velvet.  More of an unsettling romance than a ghost story, Waters writes with great insight about what it means to hold out in an age of progress.” —Chicago Sun-Times  

“The spookiest book I’ve read in a long time… [Sarah Waters] knows how to create the kind of shivers that make a reader want to turn on all the lights.  Waters has mastered the tone of the ghost story... The ending is perfect, leaving just enough to the imagination, and sending echoes back through all that has come before.” —Columbus Dispatch  

“Waters’ scrupulously engineered plot builds efficiently to a truly scary highpoint… [A] gripping thriller from one of the most interesting novelists at work today.” —Kirkus  

“Few authors do dread as well as Waters… [A] spooky, satisfying read.” —Library Journal  

The pleasures of The Little Stranger lie with the author’s uncanny ability to paint her characters and their world and to seduce the reader into following along with her… I was thrilled to spend time there, under the guidance of this supremely gifted storyteller.” —Newsday  

“An engrossing tale.” —Portland Oregonian  

A stunning haunted house tale whose ghosts are as horrifying as any in Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review  

“Prepare for serious chills on the beach with Sarah Waters’ smart ghost story. A classic gothic page-turner.” —USA Today  

“[Waters has] a Hitchcockian gift for making mundane household occurrences turn into intimations of evil…  If you want a ghost story that creeps up your spine, The Little Stranger delivers.” —Seattle Times  

“Sarah Waters’ masterly, enthralling new novel… knows how to be creepy, how to make the wrongness of what’s transpiring crawl around under your skin.  Waters has managed to write a near-perfect Gothic novel while at the same time confidently deploying the form into fresher territory.  It’s an astonishing performance, right down to the book’s mournful and devastating final sentence.” —  

“We loved every single, suspense-filled moment.” —Seattlest  

“Impossible to put down, the psychological tension in this richly written ghost story steadily mounts to a horrifying conclusion.  A great read.” —The Sacramento Bee   

“This ghost story… can legitimately be described as a publishing event.  [Sarah Waters] is a truly compelling, exciting storyteller, and there will be many, many readers looking forward to this.” —The Bookseller

Genre/Category: Fiction, Literature
Length: 480 pp

Canadian rights, McClelland & Stewart
UK rights, Virago
US rights, Riverhead
Film/TV option, Potboiler Productions

For all other rights contact Greene & Heaton.


Sarah Waters was born in Wales in 1966. She has a Ph.D. in English Literature and has been an associate lecturer with the Open University. Her four novels include Fingersmith, which was short-listed for the Man Booker Prize and the Orange Prize in 2002, Affinity, which won the Somerset Maugham Award, the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award and was shortlisted for the Mail on Sunday/John Llewellyn Rhys Award, and Tipping the Velvet. She was included in Granta’s prestigious list of ‘Best of Young British Novelists 2003’, was voted Author of the Year in 2003 by both publishers and booksellers at the British Book Awards and the BA Conference, and won the Waterstone’s Author of the Year Award 2003. Last year she was awarded an honorary degree from her alma mater, The University of Kent.

Sarah Waters’s website can be found at