Nominated by:

Muntpunt, Brussels, Belgium

Dunedin Public Libraries, New Zealand

Stockholm Public Library, Sweden

Publisher of nominated edition:

Virago Press, UK

The Paying Guests

Sarah Waters    

2016 Longlist

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.

For 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. And as passions mount and frustration gathers, no one can foresee just how far-reaching, and how devastating, the disturbances will be.

(from publisher)

About the Author

Sarah Waters was born in Wales in 1966. She has been shortlisted for the Man Booker and Orange prizes and has won The South Bank Show Award and The Somerset Maugham Award. Four of her novels have been adapted for television. She has been named as author of the Year four times – by the Booksellers Association, Sunday Times, Waterstone’s and The British Book Awards.

Librarians’ Comments

This time Sarah Waters pays a visit to London of the Roaring Twenties. The men of the family are victims of the war. The women have to rent rooms in their houses to new people with new ideas and new tensions.

Our readers’ choice.

A wonderful novel with its comments on gender and class. A particularly interesting period in Britain’s history post-war. A must-read.

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