The Paying Guests

  • by Sarah Waters
  • Narrated by Juliet Stevenson
  • 21 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award 2014
There came the splash of water and the rub of heels as Mrs Barber stepped into the tub. After that there was a silence, broken only by the occasional echoey plink of drips from the tap....
Frances had been picturing her lodgers in purely mercenary terms - as something like two great waddling shillings. But this, she thought, was what it really meant to have paying guests: this odd, unintimate proximity, this rather peeled-back moment, where the only thing between herself and a naked Mrs Barber was a few feet of kitchen and a thin scullery door. An image sprang into her head: that round flesh, crimsoning in the heat.
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.
This is vintage Sarah Waters: beautifully described with excruciating tension, real tenderness, believable characters, and surprises. It is above all a wonderful, compelling story.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

To be a fly on the wall in 1922

If you could sum up The Paying Guests in three words, what would they be?

moving, thrilling, suspensful

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Paying Guests?

So Many, the ashtray, the verdict

Have you listened to any of Juliet Stevenson’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Started off OK, but the more i listened, i thought Juliet really brought the characters to life.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The desparation of francies and Lillan to be happy

Any additional comments?

Started of a bit slow, But gradually it pulls you in. Sarah waters is just a great story teller.
Started to re listen again.

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- Steve


What made the experience of listening to The Paying Guests the most enjoyable?

Engaging, well written and wonderful characters.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Francis, she is a complex and interesting. Not predictable.

What about Juliet Stevenson’s performance did you like?

Her energy and different characters.

If you could take any character from The Paying Guests out to dinner, who would it be and why?


Any additional comments?


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- Ms WS Rall

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-28-2014
  • Publisher: Hachette Audio UK