The Woman in Black Paperback – 1 Jan 2012
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Will be dispatched from UK. Brand new copy.
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Top Customer Reviews
So for those who don't know the young London lawyer Arthur Kipps is despatched to deal with the effects of a lonely widow in her lonely mansion, Eel Marsh House - and the rigours of this job will be familiar enough to anyone who has ever has to chase the paperwork of a serial paper hoarder. But as he continues to visit the old house, he soon realises that the spirits are not friendly.....
The house decor is actually described as being quite commonplace - without the need for any kind of screen or stage, Susan Hill, or rather, Kipps makes it quite clear the real horror of Eel Marsh House lay in the memories of destructive and traumatic emotions that are locked into the haunted perpetual loop of loss and the desire for revenge. The horror for Kipps and maybe for the reader is deceptively cumulative, as the ghostly happenings continue to take place for the hapless Kipps. Things seem to be ok again, he starts to get full of himself again - then things aren't OK again, though sometimes Kipp's persistence and bravado could also be read as arrogance. It certainly seems a little ingenuous of him to ask why the woman in black might feel vindictive towards him, after he intrudes on every corner of her haunts.......
The Woman in Black is a true gothic, apparently inspired most by the American horror story The Turning of the Screw. It is never quite clear in the latter whether or not the ghostly happenings were to do with the narrator's own, deep dark emotional disturbance.
There is certainly a lability about the narrator in this tale too, however much he claims to be hard-headed and rational. He is weather-sensitive.Read more ›
I like Susan Hill’s way of writing and how she had reflected the style of the time in which it is set (the late 1800s) in that it is written as a memoir in the first person and quite formal. It fitted the story well and drew me in. It also makes the story feel quite timeless, which I guess it is given it has remained as popular as it has on page and stage (it is apparently the second longest running in the West End after The Mousetrap). A recommended read.
Hill uses some nice novella principles here, especially the framing story. There is a loose comparison with Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca (1938), but Hill’s novella is tighter, focusing on a single story; also Henry James’s novella Turn of the Screw (1898) comes to mind; and published three years after, although quite different in breadth, Stephen King’s superb IT (1986) has the same skill at making a reader whistle in the dark. Success for any horror story is to frighten, and Hill builds tension brick by brick in a plausible way that never makes the reader call out exasperated at the protagonist’s actions.
I loved this book! A real winter’s evening, by the fireside, English gothic tale, which had me sleeping with the lights on many nights after I finished it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Fast reading short book I had to wait a while to be able to have that quiet time to sit and read now I have had. I will be able to grab that moment to sit and read the 2nd half.Published 9 months ago by DAMerryweather