The Woman In Black
by Charlotte Reads Classics
The Woman in Black, Susan Hill
There is nothing like a ghost story on a winter’s evening. I have seen the stage adaptation of this book before, and it is brilliant, and pretty faithful to the original story: A young solicitor is sent from London to tend to the affairs of a recently deceased client in a remote part of the country. With a creaking old house separated from the rest of the village by marshland and rising tides, the main character starts work.
If I hadn’t known anything about Susan Hill, I would have assumed she was a victorian writer, a jumble of Edgar Allen Poe and Wilkie Collins perhaps. An old fashioned ghost story; with mysterious wasting women in graveyards, rocking chairs in nurseries, and drownings in the marshland. Hill captures atmosphere and builds tension perfectly.
The main difference between reading and watching The Woman in Black is the sound of the novel; during the play, the sounds were what made it terrifying. I was lucky to be able to remember them as I was reading; although I think that even without this background, I could create the sounds out of my imagination because the novel is so well written.
I just bought this after reading in the Guardian review that its the booksclub book for the next few weeks, I just discovered Susan Hill in 2011 after reading a wonderful interview in Mslexia magazine and then bought ‘A Kind Man’ after a visit to Daunt Books in Marylebone.
I also picked up and read ‘The Beacon’ which was excellent too. Looking forward to reading this, very much a classic now I believe.
Oh I love Susan Hill too, although I haven’t read either of the ones you mention. Am tempted by The Kind Man. The Woman in Black is an excellent read, I saw the stage production too which was brilliant as well. I’ve also read The Small Hand which is another classic ghost story. Love her!
[…] because for a ghost story this was not at all scary. Not even a bit. And the comparisons to The Woman in Black were pushing it. As a short story, it is good and I was quite entertained. But I don’t think […]