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A Kind Man [Hardcover]

Susan Hill
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)

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Book Description

6 Jan 2011

Tommy Carr was a kind man; Eve had been able to tell that after half an hour of knowing him. There had never been a day when he had not shown her some small kindness.

The birth of a daughter, Jeannie Eliza, crowns the young couple's happiness -- just as her shockingly early death casts them low. But they do not need to talk about Jeannie because she remains with them, and their love does not change.

In some ways it is no wonder that one of them falls ill, for grief takes its toll, and one Christmas even Eve's sister Miriam is remarking that Tommy looks unwell. But what happens next is entirely unexpected, not least for the kind man.

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: 14.2 x 20.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 306,412 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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Small but perfectly formed 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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40 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A haunting small masterpiece 1 Jan 2011
By bookelephant TOP 1000 REVIEWER
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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant return to form 7 Jan 2012
By Archy
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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53 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "The Lord Giveth and The Lord Taketh Away" 28 Dec 2010
By Mrs. Katharine Kirby TOP 100 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
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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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful novella 27 Jan 2011
This short novel is beautifully crafted, proving what a truly brilliant writer Susan Hill is. No word is wasted and no extra words are added, making it a real treat.

The story paints a picture of a family and a marriage, taking you through their ups and downs. I cared so much for the characters that sad bits made me sob.

I can't recommend this book enough and know I will be rereading it several times.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Emotive read 5 April 2011
By Michael Finn TOP 1000 REVIEWER
I read my first Susan Hill book back in the dim, misty past of my college days. Nestled in my English Lit reading list amongst Thomas Hardy, T.S.Eliot, G.B.Shaw, Grahame Greene etc was I'm the King of the Castle by Susan Hill. To an 18 year old who was more used to reading wall to wall epic fantasy and sci-fi I found Hill's writing the most accessible, though I admit it wasn't until a much later reread that I really appreciated the sheer depth and truth of her writing. Although A kind Man doesn't hit the heights of her earlier works it is as ever a very emotive read. This short book initially seems to be a somewhat prosaic story, set in a northern mill town during a hard depression, about the life paths of two sisters and the petty resentments that follow. One sister, Mirriam, marries a selfish and inconsiderate man, the other, Eve, marries the titular kind man, Tommy Carr, as selfless and giving a man as it 's possible to know. Mirriam can't stop having children, all boys, and Eve struggles to conceive at all. Eventually she has a single girl. From early on in the narrative, Hill generates a sense of anxiety, which is very subtly felt at first, but as the story advances and tragedy strikes, this anxiety slowly increases. What happens next is totally unexpected and far from prosaic. It's Hill's skill in engendering empathy from the reader for her characters that draws the reader in, making you worry for them and pre-empt their decisions. Essentially the book is a parable about love and kindness in a world that seems to be forgetting their value in a self made hell of drudgery and selfishness.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Published 7 days ago by Stuff up.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
loved this story, couldn't put it down once I started reading
Published 10 days ago by Mrs M Gartside
5.0 out of 5 stars A little gem
The kind man of the title is Tommy Carr, the man Eve marries. He is such a contrast to John Ballard, Eve's sister Miriam marries. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Jood
4.0 out of 5 stars Quick short read...
I've picked up two of Susan Hill's books [next on the list is The Beacon] and thoroughly enjoyed this one - sad, poignant and yet hopeful. I love her style of writing ... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Valbali"a lit chic"
4.0 out of 5 stars A kind Man: parable or simply a story?
I chose this rating because, although the book was well written, I felt that there was too much left out. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Mrs P M Mitchell
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great read
Didn't Want this story to end, beautiful. Not my usual read ..something I feel I could read again, very thought provoking and for want of another word Nice...
Published 5 months ago by Sue
4.0 out of 5 stars So sad!
Another fine piece from Susan Hill. This is such a terribly sad story with a touching end.

I recommend you read this, but make sure you have plenty of tissues at the... Read more
Published 5 months ago by K
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written
I love Susan Hill's writing. A beautiful story of love and dedication under difficult circumstances showing how the human spirit can prevail over tragedy.
Published 7 months ago by alan bannister
5.0 out of 5 stars A Kind Man
I really liked this book and couldn't help but be moved by it. It is the tale of a woman's strength in the face of poverty, personal loss and terminal illness. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Typical Susan Hill - beautiful observation of the best of human nature...
It is a short novel but Susan Hill writes beautifully and concisely with no wasted words. I was really drawn in to a love of the characters as people and was rooting for them... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Mercia Lee
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