The Small Hand
- Profile Books Ltd
- Publication Date:
- 02 September 2010
- Horror and Ghost Stories
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This short novel is an absolutely brilliant creepy modern ghost story, with a shocking and tragic twist in the tale. Mesmerising stuff. 5/5
Before I even started to read this I was delighted by this beautiful little tactile volume. It all adds to the Vicorian feel of it. Hill writes glorious ghost stories. No matter what the era (and sometimes it's hard to put a finger on which era it is) her characters always somehow end up sounding other-worldly and out-of-time, but for me this is what really works for her. In this novella, the protagonist, a book dealer, is grasped by a small hand of a boy who isn't there when he ventures into a deserted house, once famed for its beautiful gardens. A series of coincidences, twists and turns, and even a visit to a remote French monastry lead us to the final twist and the explanation of why the child ghost, at first benign starts leading Adam Snow ever closer to danger. As usual, a sublime read from an author who really understands the art of the ghost story.
This is a charming little book, well composed and touching. Susan Hill is a master at building the tension and this was very evident here.I do agree, in some ways, with another reviewer who thought this could be the lead in a book of related short stories, but I am not that keen on short story books and I would probably never have read it in that format. It was certainly engaging and I read it in a couple of hours.Everything within the book was well related. The central character Adam Snow is an antequarian book dealer and so deals with the past every day. Stumbling upon an old and derelict house, he has his first encounter with the child ghost. The chance of a first folio of Shakespeare's work sends him to a French monastery on behalf of a wealthy client... and again they are living under ancient and frugal doctrines. He is certain that the small boy is still there with him. Eventually, he comes to understand that the small hand which he feels holding his own is a ghost from the past and linked to him personally. I did see the end coming, but it was still very tragic and moving. This is a book to read snuggled under the duvet.....it all seems more real that way!
A lovely book that slowly builds up the suspense. I particularly enjoyed the descriptions and the twist at the end.
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