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The Small Hand by Susan Hill (2010)

2010s (3)
Ghosts (67)

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English (35)  Dutch (2)  English (37)
Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
Adam Snow, a dealer in antiquarian books, gets lost in the Sussex countryside after a meeting with a client. Driving around to try to get back to the main road, he happens across an abandoned Edwardian house with an overgrown garden. Intrigued, he goes closer, when suddenly he feels a small hand being folded into his own; needless to say, there isn't a child visible anywhere. But this isn't the only time he encounters the ghost child, and subsequent meetings will not feel as peaceful ...

After four fairly disappointing reads by Susan Hill, The Woman in Black of course excepted, I held out high hopes for this novella: a derelict house with nature reclaiming the once beautiful and tended garden, and a ghost child that makes contact by taking hold of the main protagonist's hand – how intriguing, I thought. Unfortunately the author gets bogged down in details and pursues a subplot about Adam Snow hunting for a Shakespeare First Folio in the remote mountains in France, and thereby neglects to create an atmosphere suitable to the ghost story medium. The truth is that the story was boring, and the main character's insistence that everything he had experienced was real only fuelled my feeling that it was anything but. Though the scenes at the house and in the garden were atmospheric enough, they gave but a glimpse of what would have been possible in the hands of a more skilled writer, and the anticipation of a neat twist at the end of the tale didn't get fulfilled. My feeling after finishing the book was that a lot of threads didn't come together to be knitted together into a cohesive piece of fiction, and a few ideas just didn't make sense at all to me. Disappointing. ( )
1 vote passion4reading | Sep 11, 2016 |
An interesting but not terrifying modern ghost story. ( )
  thejohnsmith | May 25, 2016 |
The Small Hand

Adam Snow, antiquarian book dealer, is returning to London following a business call.
In attempting to correct the car to the main route, he loses his way.
The atmosphere becomes eerie as he finds himself confronting a neglected Edwardian home.
"As he approaches the door, he is startled to feel the unmistakable sensation of a small, cold hand creeping into his own."
His puzzlement lays the groundwork for a series of strange happenings.
The memory of the small hand never quite leaves him.

The traditional English ghost story is alive and well!
Although there a few indications that the story is sent in the present, the feel is timeless.
The psychological horror feels gothic, vintage.
The novel's tension builds slowly and a fine ghost story emerges without sex, gore or wide spread violence.

It's an unsettling tale and quite frankly it's creepy, as the intentions of the child spirit unfold.
I thought it made a good Halloween read.
★ ★ ★ ★ ( )
  pennsylady | Jan 31, 2016 |
I really enjoy Susan Hill's ghost stories. The magical thing about her work is that it is not new. She is able to work within the prescribed limits of the "ghost story" and still -- though you KNOW what will eventually happen--make you shiver. ( )
  Kelley.Logan | Jan 16, 2015 |
I enjoyed the build up to the story, but was disappointed with the ending, which seemed a bit of a cop out to me. But a fairly satisfying read nevertheless - the writing is enjoyable. ( )
  Storm_Constantine | Nov 11, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
Veteran author Susan Hill established herself as a mistress of the ghost story with The Woman In Black, although this - like the more recent The Man In The Picture - is shorter, a novella really, one-dimensional and shorn of any sub-plot. It proves intriguing rather than chilling, although some may find the end guessable well before they get there.

Nevertheless, it’s hugely enjoyable and a perfect read for a couple of hours by the ­fireside on a dark winter’s evening, and would make an ideal Christmas stocking filler.
added by Nickelini | editDaily Mail, John Harding (Oct 7, 2010)
Ultimately, this is a wonderful piece of storytelling that does what a good story ought to do: it keeps you guessing, pulls you in. And when the climax comes, the explanation and the source of the haunting are not what you think at all. You really don't see it coming.
added by Nickelini | editthe Guardian, Jeremy Dyson (Sep 25, 2010)

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Susan Hillprimary authorall editionscalculated
Cameron, StewartNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Robert, cher ami pour beacoup d’années,
for so many things
Et aussi pour sa Claudine
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It was a little before nine o'clock, the sun was setting into a bank of smoky violet cloud, and I had lost my way.
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Haiku summary
A ghostly small hand
terrorises Adam Snow.
Can he resist it?

No descriptions found.

A chilling ghost story about a man who experiences a small hand creeping into his own as if a child has taken hold of it. He soon finds himself plagued by nightmares, panic attacks and more visits from the increasingly sinister small hand.

(summary from another edition)

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