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A Kind Man Hardcover – 6 Jan 2011

59 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Chatto & Windus; First Edition edition (6 Jan. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0701185910
  • ISBN-13: 978-0701185916
  • Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 2.1 x 20.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 395,970 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Susan Hill is a prize-winning novelist, having been awarded the Whitbread, Somerset Maugham and John Llewelyn Rhys awards, as well as having been shortlisted for the Booker Prize. She wrote Mrs de Winter, the bestselling sequel to Rebecca, and the ghost story The Woman in Black, which was adapted for the stage and became a great success in the West End. Her books include a collection of exquisite short stories, The Boy Who Taught the Beekeeper to Read, and the highly successful crime novel series about the detective Simon Serrailler. Susan Hill lives in Gloucestershire, where she runs her own small publishing firm, Long Barn Books.

Product Description


Sometimes a piece of writing is so pure, so true, it is almost painful to read. At the risk of sounding like a sentimental old bat, it was hard to read this story without regular recourse to tissues. (Daily Telegraph)

Book Description

Susan Hill proves once again that she is one of our very best storytellers in this transfixing parable of greed and goodness and an extraordinary miracle.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 36 people found the following review helpful By PT Farnham on 10 Mar. 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This latest book by Susan Hill is, in my humble opinion, one of her very best, a miniature masterpiece. This is the story of a working-class couple, Tommy and Eve Carr, who live a quiet, modest life somewhere in the north of the England in the early 1930s, a couple who have to face the tragic death of their young daughter and the incomprehensible consequences of Tommy's own devastating illness. Written in a beautifully economic style, their poignant story veers from joy, to grief, to dread and finally acceptance. It's a tale that can be seen as a parable about how we should use our gifts, or perhaps as a metaphor for the random nature of fortune and misfortune. However you choose to interpret it, it's a hauntingly affecting tale, one of those that lingers on in the mind long after you've finished reading it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Archy on 7 Jan. 2012
Format: Paperback
I was so pleased with this! After ploughing through one of her police sagas and finding it woefull I really thought I'd never buy another Susan Hill book, but I made an exception with this, and it was well worth it. A short novel, it's true, but so beautifully written it doesn't matter. The story is simple at first - Tommy is a kind, though quiet man, and lives happily with his wife in an unnamed village sometime before the war. But tragedy strikes when they lose their daughter. This does not shake their relationship, however. What follows is a nicely disguised fable, and I wouldn't want to give anything away. Suffice to say that if you loved Susan Hill's early work and went off when she moved to crime, be assured that this tackles similar issues with greater maturity and conciseness. Wonderful. Comes with two chapters from the rather downbeat Beacon.
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41 of 45 people found the following review helpful By bookelephant on 1 Jan. 2011
Format: Hardcover
Susan Hill is on marvellous form at the moment - alongside her excellent Simon Serailler detective novels and her superb ghost stories (most recently "The Small Hand") she is producing some of the best short novels I have ever read - "The Beacon" last year, and now, this: "The Kind Man". Each of these small masterpieces creates a small world beautifully - and then uses it to challenge our preconceptions.
Tommy, the kind man of the title, is married to Eve and is an exemplary husband - and later father to their small daughter Jeannie. His kindness manifests in those small acts of consideration which create an atmosphere of safety and happiness. He and Eve have created a home of joy and love, which withstands even the tragic early loss of their daughter. When illness then falls on him he withstands it stoically, right up until death's door. And then something strange happens - Tommy is recalled to life by a miracle - a great blessing, one might have thought? But Susan Hill would never opt for an easy route - the apparent blessing brings challenges and difficulties in its wake, and ultimately presents Tommy with an impossible dilemma ...
Gripping, haunting, disturbing and yet soothing - a book to treasure.
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Format: Paperback
This was my first Susan Hill, (tried on the strong recommendation of a reviewer whose opinions I valued). But it will undoubtedly be my last as well. Throughout the first half of the book I could understand why so many people rated it so highly. Her writing style, plot development, and portrayal of her characters is both graceful and elegant.

But then, after setting the stage with a cast of realistic people that you find yourself beginning to relate to and care about - she suddenly flicks the plot down a nonsensical route that is utterly bizarre and unbelievable. You carry on for a while with this strange development until it seems that the author suddenly awakens to the fact that she doesn't know how to extricate her characters from this strange and improbable cul-de-sac ... so, equally implausibly, she decides to quickly revert back to how things were beforehand.

When I came to the end I just felt like I'd been conned. Authors have to write books to pay the bills, just like the rest of us. For Susan Hill, writing this particular novel must have been her equivalent of waking up on a cold, wet and windy Monday morning in February and knowing you have to get yourself dressed up and out the door in time for work. In the end, she's left us without a single worthwhile idea or thought-provoking viewpoint - she simply teases us with a casual glimpse of her very competent writing style. Perhaps I've got spoiled recently by reading two exceptional novels which had similar sounding themes : Rachel Joyce's "The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry", and Gavin Extence's "The Universe Versus Alex Woods". But with these books you walk away feeling , for days afterward, that you've actually learned something helpful regarding this enigma of life that we all share.
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53 of 59 people found the following review helpful By Katharine Kirby TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 28 Dec. 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
How wonderful to actually be Susan Hill. In the school of modern women writers she is the Headmistress. For her now, nothing is impossible. `A Kind Man' is a sibling to The Beacon and The Small Hand themselves older sisters to The Man in the Picture: A Ghost Story. There is something unique about books of this size, something highly satisfactory.

In this tidy volume, the work of an afternoon's reading, Susan Hill has morphed into Thomas Hardy. A dark parable indeed with a measured pace, spotted with pathos, maintaining a low level of simmering, deep-seated grief, soul wrenching dread, and moral backbone. Short, sharp, simple sentences ; such as "Nothing would be said", of which Susan Hill is the sovereign, carry their dark foreboding, infused with longing yet submissive acceptance of a hard life to be endured.

Set, I think, just after the Great War and before the National Health Service, in an industrial town and at its rural edge; `A Kind Man' we come to understand, is a straight-forward chap called Tommy Carr, who works in one of the factories maintaining the equipment. His wife Eve makes their home in a small terrace of modest cottages in far sight of the smoking chimneys but out of their shadow. She keeps hens and rabbits for the pot while maintaining the garden and good relationships with her neighbours. Tommy and Eve silently mourn their lost daughter in their own separate ways alongside each others sadness.
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