Hello mah lovelies! I’m back in PA, finally, and getting back into the swing of things. It always helps to get back into “author mode” when I discover something cool that’s book related. And luckily for me, Germany’s come through with an awesome cover for book three:
There are NO MERMAIDS! And she’s dark-haired! It’s perfect! Plus I love the translation of the title. So that made me happy!
I never thought I’d be so happy to see a dearth of mermaids. 😉
The other thing I wanted to tell you about is an author that rocks my casbah. Her name is Sarah Waters. She writes literary fiction, but they’re also rousing good stories. I’ve loved all of her books, but I read her latest, The Little Stranger, on the plane and it was gorgeous.
Waters’ prose has been called “neo-Victorian,” and although this is set post-World War II, the tone is very elegiac, and nostalgic of a more formal, pre-Modernist style of writing. It’s very much like the prose of, say, Henry James or Edith Wharton. This uncanny ability to mimic the style of different writing periods is Waters strong suit, but it’s never a cheap imitation. She really understands these styles: their limitations, their strengths, and how to play with each one in such a way that it’s never parody, but a sublime exploration of how various generations have attempted to communicate their life experiences using our limited, human tools of communication.
The Little Stranger is, primarily, an exploration of the British class system. But it really explores very universal ideas about how we glom on to ideas of things, and how those ideas rule our lives, even if we don’t want them to.
As with many of Waters other stories, this is also very much a ghost story. Like Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw, however, Waters writes ghost stories in which it’sÂ never clearÂ whether the ghosts are genuinely paranormal or actually psychological. Indeed, I think that most of her books argue that this distinction doesn’t matter. A haunting–no matter what the origins–is about ideas. If you think about it, it’s never “random burst of light” that haunts people in stories, it’s a ghost that’s either related to the hauntee, or that has a terrible story of its own. We’re haunted by the ideas ghosts represent: by the cruelty of mortality, or the loss of a loved one, or the violence we beget upon one another. So hauntings are as much about ideas as they are about incorporeal beings that say “boo,” and so, in some ways, The Little Stranger is about the danger of ideas and ideologies. In this case, it’s the ideologies that built, upheld, and still buoy the British class system. But we all have our own dangerous ideologies that haunt our lives or our societies.
So it’s a great book. It’s not fast–it’s written in the style of a generation that would have been horrified by one of our contemporary thrillers. But the writing is beautiful, and the story is intriguing. I highly recommend all of Waters’ work, and this book is no exception.
Finally, I think I owe you guys a WIENER! The wiener of my contest to win one of Kat’s Greywalker books is LOLITAM! Congrats, LolitaM! Email me at iheartselkies(at)gmail(dot)com, giving me your address and which of the books from this list you’d like.
For the rest of the weekend I’ll be cleaning, laundering, writing, and sweating at the gym or the yoga studio. For the wages of booktour sins must be paid in hard labor! 😉
Finally, let me know in comments if there’s something you’d like me to talk about. I’ve been so busy with end of school, the tour, and book five I haven’t given much consideration to the blog. But let me know if there’s anything you’ve been hankering for. 😉
And have a great weekend!