The Woman In Black
- Publication Date:
- 19 January 2012
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This is a book that I tried a few years ago and couldn't really get into. However, as I'm going to see the play next week I thought I would give it another go. It's funny how tastes change, as I loved it the second time round and found it to be a compelling ghost story. I wasn't scared by it, but I did read the majority of it in the daytime. Had I read it at night on my own I might have been more spooked by it.Susan Hill has written a modern classic with The Woman in Black, and this is a book that I believe will endure for many years to come. It's a very short book, but tightly packed with ghostly goings-on and I loved how Susan Hill brought the story to a conclusion. Highly recommended.
I do not love horror. I stay away from it because I'm a coward so to read and finish this one is a big feat for me. Surprisingly, I loved it. It IS scary but not in a conventional way. There are no demon possession, flying objects or ghosts that walks through walls. It only has a woman in black and the sound of a child dying. I wouldn't be that scared if not for Susan Hill's narrative. She is the queen of adjectives. She'll describe fear in 20+ words that you won't have any excuse but to feel it! I was reading this book while riding to train (never in the dark or alone!) but still I got goosebumps. That's how good Susan Hill is. There is something poetic in the way she writes and I would probably read more of her works - horror or not.
To me this rates up there with Dickens' Signalman or many of M.R. James best stuff. Really good ghost stories are so hard to find so all seekers of a supernatural chilling should throw another log on the fire and reach for The Woman in Black.
The back cover of this short novel says: “What real reader does not yearn, somewhere in the recess of his or her heart, for a really literate, first-class thriller—one that chills the body, but warms the soul with plot, perception, and language at once astute and vivid? In other words, a ghost story written by Jane Austen?” How can you resist a hook like that?I first read The Woman in Black in 2002 after seeing the play of the same name in London’s West End. The story features a young solicitor named Arthur Kipps who’s dispatched to the north of England to settle the affairs of the recently-deceased Mrs. Drablow, an elderly woman who lived at the remote Eel Marsh House.The Woman in Black is a ghost story with all the requisite elements: a strange woman dressed in black, a locked room with a rocking chair that won’t stop moving; and the eerie sound of a pony and trap in the fog. It’s one of the creepiest books I’ve read in a long time—Company of Liars may be the exception. There’s no blood here, just a spine-tingling yet subtle mystery. There's really nothing more I can say; this book is perfect.
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