Dear Sarah Waters,
Are we friends yet? We’re three books into this relationship, which I know is not nearly as close as you’ve gotten to be with other readers. I know, I know that I need to read your other novels, your starters, your masterpieces. Tipping the Velvet and Affinity are at the top of my TBR list, so please don’t get too mad at me. But here we are again, I’ve finished reading The Little Stranger and I’m having mixed feelings about this! I wish that I didn’t have to say this in a letter, but I doubt you’d take a phone call from me, considering we’ve never actually met and I’m 95.6% sure that you don’t know I exist. Plus, you probably don’t want my advice because I am a minion and you are SARAH WATERS caps lock. Unless you’ve Googled “Sarah Waters Review The Night Watch” in which case, I am on the first page!
First, let me sing you some praises, because you certainly deserve them. The Little Stranger scared me, and while it’s true that I am a bit of a wimp when it comes to ghost stories, there are absolutely some bone-chilling moments in this book. You also know how to pull a twist so delicate that we don’t even know it’s happening, but it’s been there all along. Kudos. I don’t know how you do it, but you give even the most seasoned plot-guesser a run for their money, I’m sure. Your characters are so realistic that I’m pretty sure I know them. Especially Kay from The Night Watch and Dr. Faraday from The Little Stranger. I am also sure that I’ve been to the Hundreds before, even though it probably doesn’t exist outside of these pages. You’re just so good at putting me somewhere that I lose grip on my own reality, and believe me that is not a complaint.
With every book of yours I have read, it has been like a roller coaster ride of emotion. Between Fingersmith, The Night Watch and The Little Stranger I have gone from mystery, eroticism, WWII, drama, aristocracy, women!, men!, ghosts, betrayals, bombs. There have been moments of pure joy, love, and wonderfulness. But, I cannot lie to you, there are moments when I think you could cut back the pages just a wee bit. I get a little tired sometimes and I just want things to move a little faster. Lord knows, you can spin a yarn and it is good. I’m so torn! I don’t want you to cut back, but I want the books to be shorter, but then I don’t want you to lose your wonderful detail! I want you to trim things down a bit, but I’d be kicking myself if I lost parts of your book. Plus, you put me in a place so convincingly that I wouldn’t give that up for anything. If losing that sense of scene is what it would cost me to fix this problem then forget I ever mentioned it.
So really, this is just a wishy-washy letter that is me, telling you, that I like to read your books but sometimes they make me tired. Maybe I just don’t have the stamina for your awesomeness, so really you should ignore this all together. But I do have a secret to tell you: I don’t think you’ve written your best book yet. I think you’re keeping it all locked up and secret and one day you’re going to whip it out and it’s going to smack us in the face. Because you’re like that and it will be amazing.
Sincerely, lovingly, adoringly, wishy-washily,
So go read this!: now | tomorrow | next week | next month | next year | when you’ve exhausted your TBR pile