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The Woman in Black: A Ghost Story by Susan…
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The Woman in Black: A Ghost Story (original 1983; edition 2012)

by Susan Hill

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,6831324,247 (3.79)370
Member:Meredy
Title:The Woman in Black: A Ghost Story
Authors:Susan Hill
Info:Vintage (2012), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 176 pages
Collections:Read, never owned, SJPL
Rating:***1/2
Tags:fiction, suspense

Work details

The Woman in Black by Susan Hill (1983)

2012 (11) 20th century (18) British (29) British literature (8) ebook (15) England (59) English literature (11) fiction (228) ghost stories (107) ghosts (135) gothic (85) haunted house (27) hauntings (15) historical (13) historical fiction (31) horror (169) Kindle (10) library (10) mystery (49) novel (31) own (8) read (29) read in 2011 (12) read in 2012 (20) supernatural (55) Susan Hill (11) suspense (18) thriller (21) to-read (65) unread (8)
  1. 50
    The Turn of the Screw, and In the Cage by Henry James (bookworm12)
  2. 51
    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)
  3. 20
    The Man in the Picture by Susan Hill (jm501)
  4. 10
    The Memory Game by Nicci French (cometahalley)
  5. 10
    Waltz into Darkness by Cornell Woolrich (cometahalley)
  6. 10
    The Small Hand by Susan Hill (jm501)
  7. 10
    The Ghost Writer by John Harwood (madamlibbytellsall)
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» See also 370 mentions

English (129)  Dutch (2)  Swedish (1)  All languages (132)
Showing 1-5 of 129 (next | show all)
At the start of this novella, I noted the authors's decision to make the book a memoir--a reflection of the narrator's past. The pros to this being I knew the narrator would live through this eerie story, and it allowed the author to build suspense about just how harrowing these events were to haunt the narrator almost twenty years later.

A good, solidly told story of a typical 'city' man sent to the country to do business--he doesn't believe the stories and rumors....until he has to experience them himself.

I read this as part of a challenge to read a book made into the movie, and on that score the relative low number of pages should mean the movie could follow the story closely. Only one way to find out! ( )
  csweder | Jul 8, 2014 |
Be prepared to stay awake all...night...long.
  lseitz | Jul 1, 2014 |
A solid tale that is still chilling even with the predictable plot, possibly because you know what will happen. Left me despairing of the hopeless pain of existence we all have at times ( )
  Con.Rad | May 6, 2014 |
I wished it was longer, and the ending was a tad predictable, but I love Hill's writing style. I have never before read a full-page description of lighting a fire, making tea, and sitting down to look at old receipts and been so entertained and enthralled. ( )
  sixteendays | Apr 10, 2014 |
3.5/5

I make a habit of not watching the based on movie before reading the propagating book, so that fact that I’m reading not one but two of said unfortunate works (A Clockwork Orange sneaking in during my youth due to college fanboys and the like) is not something I plan on ever happening again. However, it happened, and I will not lie that my expectations have been adjusted accordingly.

While the book is horror, the movie is horror horror horror, tragic past combined with morbidly saturated cinematography sprinkled with heart-stopping pop-outs galore. The facts are there, but the plot is vastly different, one phrase of the book playing a much larger role and, indeed, the setting the mood and thematic content for the entirety. In short, the book is nicer, and while I don't agree with the Jane Austen comparison at all, I did admire the spectrum of emotions and thoughts the main character experienced; an authorial sensitivity to human psychology at both the highs and the lows that you don't often come across in literature as a whole.

The balance between cheerful normality and burgeoning dread was well developed one, but ended up sacrificing the more poignant extremes of the movie horrors for its focus on stability. I wasn't a fan of being scared out of my wits every five minutes, but as it is horror, and there were certain masterfully handled cinematic scenes that I was disappointed to not discover in the book, I could have handled a little more thrills and chills. Other reviews have spoken of Hill's talent at writing mood, and while I do emphatically agree with that, I'm someone who's childhood reading was half Tolkien and half Stephen King. If you want to scare me via paper these days, you need to provide a little more visceral imagery than descriptions of internal panic and full bodied terror. Accurate replication of the feelings of fear are all very well, but real terror will strike only when you give me something physical to envision, a movie favorite of mine being the main character step up to a window, our view from the opposite side allowing us, and only us, to watch with horror the ghostly visage coming up alongside him. That scene sold me on the trailer, and later on the movie as a whole.

However. Neither the book nor the movie end well, but when it comes to the overcast of nervous paranoia chasing the reader or viewer long after the finishing, the book had the movie beat. The movie's extended use of the book's main point of fear , children dying in horribly gruesome ways and coming back to haunt forevermore, ended up sucking the life out of the original shock, while the book saved up its cards till the moment was right. This made for a far more full-fledged sense of 'you reap what you sow' that pushed up this reader's evaluation that final half star. ( )
  Korrick | Apr 7, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 129 (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 editionsconfirmed
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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Wikipedia in English (1)

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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:04:26 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Proud and solitary, Eel Marsh House surveys the windswept reaches of the salt marshes beyond Nine Lives Causeway. Arthur Kipps, a junior solicitor, is summoned to attend the funeral of Mrs Alice Drablow, the house's sole inhabitant, unaware of the tragic secrets which lie hidden behind the shutttered windows.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 11 descriptions

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