The Servants

The Servants For young Mark the world has turned as bleak and gray as the Brighton winter Separated from his real father and home in London he s come to live with his mother and her new husband in an old house n

For young Mark, the world has turned as bleak and gray as the Brighton winter Separated from his real father and home in London, he s come to live with his mother and her new husband in an old house near the sea He spends his days alone, trying to master the skateboard, while other boys his age are in school He hates the unwanted stepfather who barged into Mark s life tFor young Mark, the world has turned as bleak and gray as the Brighton winter Separated from his real father and home in London, he s come to live with his mother and her new husband in an old house near the sea He spends his days alone, trying to master the skateboard, while other boys his age are in school He hates the unwanted stepfather who barged into Mark s life to rob him of joy Worst of all, his once vibrant mother has grown listless and weary, no longer interested in anything beyond her sitting room But on a damp and chilly evening, an accident carries Mark into the basement flat of the old woman who lives at the bottom of his stepfather s house She offers tea, cakes, and sympathy and the key to a secret, bygone world Mark becomes caught up in the frenetic bustle of the human machinery that once ran a home, and drawn ever deeper into a lost realm of spirits and memory Here below the suffocating truths, beneath the pain and unhappiness, he finds an escape, and quite possibly a way to change everything A richly evocative, poignantly beautiful modern day ghost story, The Servants marks the triumphant return of Michael Marshall Smith the first novel in a decade from the multiple award winning author of Spares.

  • [PDF] The Servants | by ☆ Michael Marshall Smith
    191 Michael Marshall Smith
The Servants

  1. Michael Marshall Smith is a bestselling novelist and screenwriter His first novel, ONLY FORWARD, won the August Derleth and Philip K Dick awards SPARES and ONE OF US were optioned for film by DreamWorks and Warner Brothers, and the Straw Men trilogy THE STRAW MEN, THE LONELY DEAD and BLOOD OF ANGELS were international bestsellers His most recent novels are THE INTRUDERS, BAD THINGS and KILLER MOVE He is a four time winner of the BFS Award for short fiction, and his stories are collected in two volumes WHAT YOU MAKE IT and MORE TOMORROW AND OTHER STORIES which won the International Horror Guild Award He lives in Santa Cruz, California with his wife and son.

336 Reply to “The Servants”

  1. In this coming of age tale, Mark is 11, unhappy about being moved from London to Brighton when his sick mother and stepfather, David, relocate there He fears that David is not doing the right thing for the mom, and Mom always seems too tired to go out or do anything other than sit in bed or on a couch and look pale Mark is trying to improve his skateboarding skills, but does not connect much with the local kids, who are much better at it than he is One day, after blowing up at David, Mark escape [...]

  2. A spellbinding, creepy novella, The Servants is chilling, but at the same time is grounded in the ordinariness of everyday life.An 11 year old boy is transferred from his London home to Brighton by his mom and new stepdad and can t understand or reason out why his mom and dad are not together and he resents his new father.His mom is also very ill and even this doesn t puncture his self pity until the end of the story.He is lonely and spends his days roaming the beach in the cold, rainy off seaso [...]

  3. An ultimately cutesy story but emotionally very immature Some might say that s because the main character is 11 I won t allow the author to hide underdeveloped characters behind such a lame excuse This book might work for young adult readers, but it is not a satisfying novel for adults.The story centers on 11 year old boy Mark, who has just moved from London to Brighton with his very ill mother and his new stepfather Mark is having difficulty accepting the limitations of his mother s illness, an [...]

  4. I m not sure what to make of The Servants, in the end It sounds like it s going to be creepy, but isn t really It feels like Tom s Midnight Garden, except that it s a bit mature in some ways, and then again in other ways it isn t It doesn t quite seem to all fit together right, producing a story that doesn t seem to know what it is one minute it s deeply real, a boy s experience of his mother s sickness and his parents divorce The next, it s into the Midnight Garden type of fantasy, and in the [...]

  5. What a weird little book As a teenager reading this book I see in the reviews that most readers are a lot older than me, and no wonder, as I was given this book by my grandfather with a little post it saying recommended in his old fashioned black script , I was uncannily reminded of Tom s Midnight Garden Yes No I gave my mum the synopsis, and she just said, Well, that s just like Tom s Midnight Garden, isn t it Well, not quite I got a few little messages out of this book there may be a few SPOIL [...]

  6. The Servants by M M Smith is a rather different offering from the author s previous books as Michael Marshall and Michael Marshall Smith.It has the same core premise as Only Forward and Spares and to some extent One of Us , of a solidified subconscious realm where the protagonist s psychological issues are worked out through surreally allusive imagery Unlike those stories, however and even despite the fact that it s set in Brighton, like certain key scenes in Only Forward , it s a tighter, disc [...]

  7. Certain aspects of this fast read reminded me of the movies The Others and The Sixth Sense, although the plot is very different I picked it up because I enjoy reading fiction and nonfiction about the golden age of servants, but this is mostly a contemporary coming of age story about an 11 year old boy whose mother and new stepfather move him against his will from London to a huge, old house on the Brighton Beach during the off season Most of the house is closed off The little old lady who lives [...]

  8. This book was easy to read and follow, although there were some unconventional interactions with characters and places from the past The 11 year old main character, Mark, was able to grow and learn to understand people s imperfect relationships with each other He could see that people and events from the past are always part of the present He grew from a young child with selfish needs to one who could step outside his own needs to understand those of his Mother and new stepfather These adults di [...]

  9. The Servants is an interesting young adult middle grade story featuring a troubled young boy as a protagonist Mark s life has taken a turn he didn t expect and can t change, and he is having difficulty coping I enjoyed Mark s young perspective, and following him as he struggled to understand his new situation I was less interested in the supernatural elements of the story, though, except as they were related to Mark s growth as a character I also felt that the ending was a little too abrupt and [...]

  10. I read this book in one day, but was disappointed that it wasn t all I d hoped for I was attracted to the plot line that the main character discovers the ghosts in the old servants quarters in his home While this was the case, the author didn t really take the plot in the exciting direction I would have liked.The main character was a young boy dealing with the breakup of his parents, and his ill mother marrying an American and moving to Brighton There is a lot of skateboarding out in the cold we [...]

  11. I loved this book It was wonderful Marshal Smith has a wonderful way of throwing all your expectations into his books with each line you read then turning those ideas on their heads I will say i didn t enjoy it as much as a couple of his other novels but it was engaged thoroughly until the end I liked how just because bad stuff happened in the book, there wasn t a magical resolution to the real problems, despite the servants predicament and the main characters visiting them I enjoyed the literar [...]

  12. A wonderful story about a boy and his transition from a child into a young adult I thought that his child like self obsession in which he assumes that everyone s actions, particularly his step fathers, are an attempt to antagonize him was well written Once he matures and realizes the folly of his own perceptions, he is able to see and appreciate people for who they really are, and the plain motivations of their actions There were many metaphors alluding to this in the story.

  13. Absolutely loved this brilliant lovely book I felt I was right in the house and at the beach when he described it.A very touching story I highly recommend this book Michael Marshall Smith is an exceptional author.

  14. A wonderful tale of a boy coming to terms with changes in life And the beautiful, gorgeous language of Mr Marshall Smith I found myself underlying sentences on every other page Inspiring I loved it.

  15. Touching, interesting, creepy and mysterious I enjoyed this book An off beat way to glimpse into a child s psychology at a difficult stage in life I thought it was clever, done well, and left me wanting to read it again

  16. Il est tr s facile de rentrer dans l histoire et on veut savoir la suite Je ne m attendais pas une lecture aussi rapide L histoire est assez sympa.

  17. Michael Marshall Smith is a dark, dark author Most of his works are nihilistic and hopeless, even when they have a happy ending, so it was a bit of a shock to read a comment about The Servants describing it as a children s book Having finished it, I wouldn t necessarily agree, if only because of a few choice pieces of language the kind that would get it rated R f it were a movie, or labeled with a Parental Advisory sticker if it were a CD , but I do think that there is a brilliant presentation o [...]

  18. If you live long enough, everything happens Servants, Prologue I finished Servants by M M Smith last night It turned out to be one of those books I couldn t actually put down, which is a bit strange considering I usually dislike novels were the main character is a kid or a teenager Stories were the main characters are kids are usually hard to write and hard to digest I think But I put down all the other books I m reading and read through this one fast It was hard to put down.I started reading it [...]

  19. Je savais que cet auteur me surprendrait, je ne pensais pas qu il me surprendrait de cette fa on Et attention aux spoilers.On y d couvre donc Mark, un gamin de onze ans, qui se retrouve d m nag avec sa m re et son beau p re Brighton, en dehors de la saison touristique, dans une maison du bord de mer datant des d buts des bains de mer Alors bon, les bords de Manche en Automne, c est pas forc ment tr s joyeux Surtout quand on vient d emm nager et qu on n y conna t personne.Du coup, le jeune Mark f [...]

  20. I really enjoyed this book Read some of the other reviews, I guess I really didn t open this book with any expectations whatsoever I knew it would be well written of course It is MMS we re talking about after all So I was pleasantly surprised by how it unfolded page after page.It s a subtle ghost story Not a haunted house story Guess I never thought it would be, looking back to before I started reading it More metaphor than ghost story really And that s okay.After all, what s wrong with a touchi [...]

  21. This was a very disappointing book I expected of a ghost story and less of a story about a boy who hates his stepfather Here s the book in a nutshell Mark moves with his sick mother and hated stepfather to a coastal town south of London Mark really hates his step father For some reason, the boy doesn t have to go to school because he s not in London, so he attempts to learn to skateboard They order out Chinese a lot, and Mark spends lots of time hating his stepfather And somewhere in the middle [...]

  22. , 2 3 YA, , , 11 year old Mark has moved to Brighton, a decaying English resort town, with his sickly mother and her new husband, David Mark hates David, hates his parents divorce and hates Brighton, where he has no friends and little to do Then the old lady who lives in the tiny apartment beneath David s recently purchased townhouse takes him on a tour of the old servants quarters When Mark sneaks into the quarters on his own, he begins to see the long dead servants at their jobs and realize [...]

  23. I got this book through the vine program It sounded like an interesting premise to a story Thought the story was well written, the plot was slow moving, boring, and somewhat anti climatic.Mark is forced to move out of London to the vacation town of Brighton with his mother and new step father Mark sees his step father as controlling and doesn t understand his mother s constant illness This takes a stranger turn when Mark is shown the servant s quarters underneath their new house by an old woman [...]

  24. The Servants is a departure from Smith s usual worlds of noir tinged sci fi and dark, vaguely supernatural thrillers Which is, presumably, why this was released as an M M Smith book rather than under one of his normal monickers.With its focus on the internal world of a young boy who experiences something strange and possibly paranormal it is reminiscent of some of Stephen King s introspective novels Where it differs is that this book seems firmly aimed at young adults, a sense of impotent rage [...]

  25. I didn t realise when I picked this up that it was actually a young adult novel I was expecting a ghost story with a bit depth, and didn t really enjoy the book I wouldn t recommend it to adults, but perhaps for the intended audience this book would be okay.I was disappointed as I was expecting and was in the mood for a gripping ghost story, but instead was presented with a coming of age novel I could have dealt with that had I not run into a severe lack of character development The servants, w [...]

  26. Not bad, not bad Not as good as some of his short stories I ve read Perhaps, for me, told a bit too much from the main character s p.o.v Mark read a little too much like angsty Harry Potter in The Order of the Phoenix It gets a trifle tedious and annoying But it s a bit interesting, how the ghostly servants actually fit into his life I goofily spent part of the book trying to figure out exactly how butlers and housekeepers and maids fit into the story of Mark and his stepfather and cancer ridden [...]

  27. The essentials are there a mysterious house, an angsty boy, creepy goings on, and a great setting in a beachside town The unanswered questions are compelling Uprooted and transplanted into a new blended family situation in a different town, Mark is miserable Disorienting enough on its own, his predicament is compounded by his mother s deteriorating health and a step dad he hardly knows Friendless and bored, he fills his days skateboarding and getting scraped up until he meets the old lady who li [...]

  28. I mistakenly bought this in a charity shop thinking that it was some kind of supernatural thriller, which it was to some extent, but nowhere on the cover or in the publishing information did it say that this was for young adults So it wasn t a challenging read and it didn t really hold my attention as I might have hoped.The problem is, that even if this is a book for teenagers the story is still told in an incredibly simplistic and na ve way It reads like it s for 8 year olds, except that a few [...]

  29. Mark s mother has chosen David, his stepfather, over Mark, which is infuriating enough Mark has been uprooted from London, where he lived perfectly happily with his mom and dad, to Brighton, where David lives above stairs in a row house, and now Dad s gone and Mum married David and now she does everything David says.To get away from David, Mark takes his skateboard and goes down to the pier and spends day after cloudy, grim day skating, falling down, and getting back up again.And one day he meet [...]

  30. For young Mark, the world has turned as bleak and gray as the Brighton winter Separated from his real father and home in London, he s come to live with his mother and her new husband in an old house near the sea He spends his days alone, trying to master the skateboard, while other boys his age are in school He hates the unwanted stepfather who barged into Mark s life to rob him of joy Worst of all, his once vibrant mother has grown listless and weary, no longer interested in anything beyond her [...]

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