The Paying Guests

The Paying Guests

Format
Hardcover
Price
$28.95
 
  • Hardcover
  • ISBN 9781594633119
  • 576 Pages
  • Riverhead
  • Adult

Overview

From the bestselling author of The Little Stranger and Fingersmith, an enthralling novel about a widow and her daughter who take a young couple into their home in 1920s London.

It is 1922, and London is tense. Ex-servicemen are disillusioned; the out-of-work and the hungry are demanding change. And in South London, in a genteel Camberwell villa—a large, silent house now bereft of brothers, husband, and even servants—life is about to be transformed as impoverished widow Mrs. Wray and her spinster daughter, Frances, are obliged to take in lodgers.

With the arrival of Lilian and Leonard Barber, a modern young couple of the “clerk class,” the routines of the house will be shaken up in unexpected ways. Little do the Wrays know just how profoundly their new tenants will alter the course of Frances’s life—or, as passions mount and frustration gathers, how far-reaching, and how devastating, the disturbances will be.

Short-listed for the Man Booker Prize three times, Sarah Waters has earned a reputation as one of our greatest writers of historical fiction, and here she has delivered again. A love story, a tension-filled crime story, and a beautifully atmospheric portrait of a fascinating time and place, The Paying Guests is Sarah Waters’s finest achievement yet.

Praise

Praise for The Little Stranger

“The #1 book of 2009…Several sleepless nights are guaranteed.”
—Stephen King, Entertainment Weekly 

“A classic gothic page-turner.”
USA Today

“Wonderfully evoked…Waters has rendered the old house magnificently in its fading glory, and its in habitants sparkle like chandeliers in the damp, peeling rooms…Sarah Waters is an excellent, evocative writer, and this is an incredibly gripping and readable novel.”
The New York Times Book Review  (Editor’s Choice)

“Haunted by the spirits of Henry James and Edgar Allan Poe…Waters is just one turn of the screw away from ‘The Fall of the House of Usher.’ She keeps the lightening flashing in every gloomy chapter, and you can’t help but gasp, ‘It’s alive!’”
The Washington Post 

“Completely absorbing…I wanted to linger in that fictional world, page by page, chapter by chapter.”
Newsday 

“A virtuoso writer…If you want a ghost story that creeps up your spine, The Little Stranger delivers.”
The Seattle Times 

“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.”
—Laura Miller, Salon.com

“Waters creates an atmosphere of quiet dread that’s unnerving and compelling.”
Time 

“With its subtly orchestrated suspense and spot-on portrayal of English class divisions, Waters’s literary ghost story delights.”
People 

“A marvelous and truly spooky historical novel.”
The Boston Globe

“Rich with historic detail and slow, deliberate building toward the revelation of its secrets, [The Little Stranger] delights even as it leaves you unnerved.”
The Miami Herald 

“Like the gloomy English weather, an air of impending doom lingers over every chapter of The Little Stranger…an up-all-night page-turner that provides a cogent dose of social commentary.”
The Cleveland Plain Dealer 

“In The Little Stranger, Hundreds Hall serves as a perfect symbol of the postwar erosion of Britain’s class hierarchies, but it also, increasingly, transforms into a scheming, deadly character…Waters, a master at stoking anticipation, withholds the truth about her ghost until the final pages. By then we already strongly suspect its identity, but the confirmation is subtle, surprising, and deeply, deeply chilling.”
—NPR.org

“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)

“Few authors do dread as well as Waters. Her latest novel is a ghost story with elements of both ‘The Fall of the House of Usher’ and Brideshead Revisited. This spooky satisfying read has the added pleasure of effectively detailing postwar village life, with its rationing, social structures, and gossip, all on the edge of Britain’s massive change to a social state.”
Library Journal     
 
Praise for The Night Watch

“Flawless…A sophisticated beautifully written novel.”
The Washington Post
 
“Captivating.”
The New York Times
 
“[A] wonderful novel…Waters is almost Dickensian in her wealth of description and depth of character.”
Chicago Tribune
 
“Waters has the gift of story, the ability to dissolve the distance between reader and subject until nothing but experience remains.”
Los Angeles Times
 
“Compelling…sexually and psychologically provocative.”
USA Today
 
Praise for Fingersmith

“Deliciously brazen…a smart and seductive enchantment.”
Los Angeles Times

“Oliver Twist with a twist…Waters spins an absorbing tale that withholds as much as it discloses. A pulsating story.”
The New York Times Book Review 

“Superb storytelling. Fingersmith is gripping; so suspenseful and twisting is the plot that for the last 250 pages, I read at breakneck speed.”
USA Today 

“A deftly plotted thriller…absorbing and elegant.”
Entertainment Weekly

“A marvelous pleasure…Waters’s noted attention to historical detail and her beautifully sensitive dialogue help to anchor the force-five plot twisters.”
The Washington Post 

Praise for Affinity

“Unfolds sinuously and ominously…a powerful plot-twister…a truly suspenseful tale of terror; and a piece of elegant, thinly veiled erotica. Like a Ouija board, Affinity offers different messages to different readers, scaring the shrouds off everyone in the process.”
USA Today

“[Waters] displays her incredible talent for the Gothic historical novel in this splendid book about a Victorian women’s prison and the affair there between an inmate and a ‘lady visitor.’”
San Francisco Chronicle

“Gothic tale, psychological study, puzzle narrative…superbly suspenseful…This is gripping, astute fiction that feeds the mind and senses.”
The Seattle Times
 
Praise for Tipping the Velvet

“If lesbian fiction is to reach a wider readership—as much, though far from all, of it deserves to do—Waters is just the person to carry the banner.”
The New York Times Book Review

“With her glorious first novel, Sarah Waters achieves the kind of exceptional debut most novice writers can barely imagine, let alone accomplish.”
The Boston Globe
 
“Wonderful…a sensual experience that leaves the reader marveling at the author’s craftsmanship, idiosyncrasy, and sheer effort.”
San Francisco Chronicle

Praise for The Paying Guests

“An exquisitely tuned exploration of class in post-Edwardian Britain—with really hot sex…Tension is high from the first paragraph…Waters is a master of pacing, and her metaphor-laced prose is a delight…until the last page, the reader will have no idea what’s going to happen. Waters keeps getting better, if that’s even possible after the sheer perfection of her earlier novels.”
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“An absorbing character study [and] expertly paced and gripping psychological narrative…Readers of Water’s previous novels know that she brings historical eras to life with consummate skill, rendering authentic details into layered portraits of particular times and places…breathtaking” —Publisher’s Weekly (starred review)

“Moody and atmospheric, this latest from three-time Booker Prize finalist Waters (The Little Stranger) has a rich historical setting…[and] keeps you guessing until the very end” —Library Journal

Praise for The Little Stranger

“The #1 book of 2009 . . . Several sleepless nights are guaranteed.”
—Stephen King, Entertainment Weekly 

“A classic gothic page-turner.”
USA Today

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

“Haunted by the spirits of Henry James and Edgar Allan Poe . . . Waters is just one turn of the screw away from ‘The Fall of the House of Usher.’ . . . She keeps the lightning flashing in every gloomy chapter, and you can’t help but gasp, ‘It’s alive!’”
The Washington Post 

“Completely absorbing . . . I wanted to linger in that fictional world, page by page, chapter by chapter.”
Newsday 

 


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