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The Woman in Black by Susan Hill
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The Woman in Black (original 1983; edition 1997)

by Susan Hill

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2,2081682,940 (3.73)473
Member:kiwidoc
Title:The Woman in Black
Authors:Susan Hill
Info:
Collections:Read in 2009, Read but unowned
Rating:****1/2
Tags:Fiction. English.

Work details

The Woman in Black: A Ghost Story by Susan Hill (1983)

  1. 61
    The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson (kraaivrouw, Jannes)
    Jannes: No sure if it is a coincidence, but the two perhaps best ghost stories ever written are both by women, in a genre otherwise mostly dominated by men. Both are superb explorations of death, loss, fear, and all those other elementsthat make up the good supernatural tales.… (more)
  2. 50
    The Turn of the Screw, and In the Cage by Henry James (bookworm12)
  3. 10
    The Man in the Picture by Susan Hill (jm501)
  4. 00
    Waltz into Darkness by Cornell Woolrich (cometahalley)
  5. 00
    The Small Hand by Susan Hill (jm501)
  6. 00
    The Ghost Writer by John Harwood (madamlibbytellsall)
  7. 01
    The Memory Game by Nicci French (cometahalley)
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» See also 473 mentions

English (165)  Dutch (2)  Swedish (1)  All (168)
Showing 1-5 of 165 (next | show all)
This is a quick read in the lead-up to Halloween, relying heavily on atmosphere and isolation to set you ill-at-ease. It's not the book to read if you're looking for endless thrills or a complex, tightly-woven plot, but it does the trick when you want to feel trapped in a creepy manor-house with malevolent ghosts in the periphery.

The features of the house and landscape and cursed village are what make this book. It's very English, very desolate, very much the town entrenched in its haunted past, which I've seen in my time, in my own modest ways. The descriptions of the fogs and the causeway will stick with me, especially when both town & house become lost from sight and you can see yourself standing in the middle of the silver-watered marsh, and how eerie and unsettling it would be.

The opening chapter gave me no idea of what to expect of the book. It's the typical framing narrative of "It's Christmas, here's a ghost story I've never told and am writing down at last," but the whole family that the narrator describes are so terribly ordinary that you hardly think the book is worth continuing. I understand that this is the point, that the cosy life he has now contrasts the dark and terrible experiences he had as a younger man, but it can be a bit misleading because you don't get sufficient eerieness, which arrives in spades later. ( )
  likecymbeline | Apr 1, 2017 |
I watched the movie with a friend and was curious about the ending. through some online research, I came across a discussion about the movie ending being different from the book's ending, so I decided to read the book and see how it differed. Overall, the book and the movie seem to be separate entities, while still focusing around a single premise. Most times I prefer to read the book before watching a movie, in this case there was nothing to lost by doing it the opposite way around. ( )
  bhiggi12 | Mar 3, 2017 |
The ghost story genre has not been a frequent visitor to our club, in fact the only others in ten years are The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters and Beloved by Toni Morrison. Both of these of course are much more than mere ghostly tales, but you see where we’re coming from. The Woman in Black impressed a few of us with the imagery and sparse Victorian/Gothic style writing. Hill was praised for her visual descriptions that created an atmosphere of intrigue so subtle that the reader was never sure whether the main character, Arthur Kipps, was experiencing a supernatural phenomena, subliminal suggestion or simply an over active imagination.

There was an overwhelming opinion that this was ‘not really my sort of book’ and that it was simply a yarn told for the purpose of entertaining. In fact, Ann believes Kipps himself was just spinning a tale.

Regardless, we did find ourselves entertained, both by the book and the movie starring Daniel Radcliffe as Kipps. The more than minor changes made in the screenplay gave us good material for discussion. Why the changes (particularly in the closing chapter)? Well, the cinema does like a nice tidy ending, and we believe they found it!
  jody12 | Jan 31, 2017 |
Perfectly captures the atmosphere of classic ghost stories by M.R. James, Algernon Blackwood, and others. Perhaps a little too perfectly. But still very effective. ( )
  wyattbonikowski | Jan 11, 2017 |
3.5 stars. Though unsettling, I thought the story would be more frightening. ( )
  Heather_Brock | Nov 23, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 165 (next | show all)
I love this style of writing... very detailed and descriptive. Although some of our students have said that they had a hard time getting through the first few chapters, I was immediately captivated.
 

» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Susan Hillprimary authorall editionscalculated
Klingberg, OlaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lawrence, JohnIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
For Pat and Charles Gardner
First words
It was nine-thirty on Christmas Eve.
Quotations
But gradually I discovered for myself the truth of the axiom that a man cannot remain indefinitely in a state of active terror. Either the emotion will increase until, at the prompting of more and more dreadful events and apprehensions, he is so overcome by it that he runs away or goes mad; or he will become by slow degrees less agitated and more in possession of himself.
A man may be accused of cowardice for fleeing away from all manner of physical dangers but when things supernatural, insubstantial and inexplicable threaten not only his safety and well-being but his sanity, his innermost soul, then retreat is not a sign of weakness but the most prudent course.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
Arthur Kipps in an up-and-coming London solicitor who is sent to Crythin Gifford-a faraway town in the windswept salt marshes beyond Nine Lives Causeway-to attend the funeral and settle the affairs of a client. Mrs. Alice Drablow of Eel Marsh House. Mrs. Drablow's house stands at the end of the causeway, wreathed in fog and mystyery, but Kipps is unaware of the tragic secrets that lie hidden behind its sheltered windows. The routine business trip he anticipated quickly takes a horrifying turn when he finds himself haunted by a series of mysterious sounds and images-a rocking chair in a deserted nursery, the eerie sound of a pony and trap, a child's scream in the fog, and, most terrifying of all, a ghostly woman dressed in black. (96780307950215)
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0307745317, Paperback)

A classic ghost story: the chilling tale of a menacing specter haunting a small English town. Arthur Kipps is an up-and-coming London solicitor who is sent to Crythin Gifford--a faraway town in the windswept salt marshes beyond Nine Lives Causeway--to attend the funeral and settle the affairs of a client, Mrs. Alice Drablow of Eel Marsh House. Mrs. Drablow's house stands at the end of the causeway, wreathed in fog and mystery, but Kipps is unaware of the tragic secrets that lie hidden behind its sheltered windows. The routine business trip he anticipated quickly takes a horrifying turn when he finds himself haunted by a series of mysterious sounds and images--a rocking chair in a deserted nursery, the eerie sound of a pony and trap, a child's scream in the fog, and, most terrifying of all, a ghostly woman dressed all in black.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:59 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Arthur Kipps, a young solicitor, travels to the north of England to settle the estate of Alice Drablow, but unexpectedly encounters a series of sinster events.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 12 descriptions

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