Sarah Waters: The Paying Guests

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Sarah Waters mines literary genres and periods in history and brings the lesbians out of the shadows: she isn't addressing homophobia, she says, but the way in which lesbians and gays have always been able to get on with their lives. She does this in a way that feeds a traditional hunger for novel-reading, filled with crime, passion, and cliff-hangers. The title of her new book, The Paying Guests (Riverhead Books), is a euphemism for "lodgers," here used by the protagonists' family to mask the shame of taking on tenants in the economic upheaval following WWII.