A Kind Man Paperback – 5 Jan 2012
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"Of all the contemporary novelists who are compared to Dickens, Susan Hill probably has the best claim....Hill has produced another perfectly controlled work of fiction... What is striking about the best of Hill's fiction...is her almost Bachian ability to plumb the depths of emotion and bring the reader back out again" (Amanda Craig Prospect)
"Hill impresses without seeking to astonish, and so is one of those rare writers whose work is brilliant in the single, secondary sense- not glittering, but distinguished- her prose as pleasing and surprising, say, as a perfectly round stone, or home-cooked haute cuisine" (Ian Sansom Guardian)
"Hill's writing here is superb, conveying emotion and pain in the sparest of prose...a comforting keenly moving tale of endurance and the eternal springs of friendship and love" (Philip Womack Literary Review)
"It has a power beyond its pages; a haunting resonance between each stark sentence that stayed with me long after I'd turned the final page.The delicate balance between kindness and bitterness, hope and despair, a dying man and a dying town, are almost unbearably poignant. This is a short book that will live long in the memory" (Rebecca Armstrong Independent on Sunday)
"Concisely captures primal emotions and offers astonishing transformations... Movingly perceptive" (David Grylls Sunday Times)
Susan Hill proves once again that she is one of our very best storytellers in this transfixing parable of greed, goodness and an extraordinary miracle.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This creation from Susan Hill is certainly a page-turner, with well-drawn, realistic characters. You are drawn into the story and start to care about them very quickly. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Another Customer
I'm a keen reader of Susan Hill's books but found this particular one rather disappointing as it lacked the interest of her other books.Published 2 months ago by Pauline Annis
Susan grips with you by the heart strings right away as you read about Eve's tale and how she just wants to find a kind man. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Pix
Having previously read novels by this authoress, I was disappointed with this book.Published 4 months ago by Heather
I loved this book. I cared about the people and the writing created such an atmosphere you really felt that you were there with them all. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Jenny Waring
A beautiful short book about the meaning of human connection and loss. The story centres on a couple, Tommy and Eve Carr, living a simple homely life in the 1930s. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Terrier girl
Sad tale about hardship, loss and family life. Almost an allegory or fairy tale with magical properties and happenings. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Rocke Harder