The Woman in Black by Susan Hill

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Re: The Woman in Black by Susan Hill

Post by dsimpson on Fri Oct 30, 2009 7:22 pm

I liked the tension Hill created and while I wasn't literally scared, I could feel what Hill was trying to do and I thought it was pretty effective (at least for me). I had read it before, though, so I knew what was coming more or less. My book didn't have any illustrations, which is a pity as I'd love to see what the house looked like. And I think context really is everything. In the right setting, reading this straight through, the story might possibly take on a more uneasy feeling.

Out of curiosity--when was this story supposed to have taken place. I was thinking it must be in the 30s or 40s, but I may be way off. Though with the attitudes about a woman bearing a child out of wedlock--perhaps it was even earlier. Arthur mentions Victorian attitudes (or something Victorian anyway), but I couldn't quite place the period.


Last edited by dtorres on Fri Oct 30, 2009 7:34 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: The Woman in Black by Susan Hill

Post by dsimpson on Fri Oct 30, 2009 7:25 pm

Interesting about MR James--I really must read more of him. I think Sarah Waters was really influenced by his work when she was writing her most recent book.

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Re: The Woman in Black by Susan Hill

Post by Rebecca H. on Fri Oct 30, 2009 8:09 pm

Just a quick note -- if you are interested in seeing the illustrations, you will find them here:

http://books.google.com/books?id=y9_Fdk-JUYUC&printsec=frontcover&dq=susan+hill+woman+in+black&client=firefox-a#v=onepage&q=&f=false

Or if that doesn't work, a search on Google Books for The Woman in Black will call them up.

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Re: The Woman in Black by Susan Hill

Post by jlshall on Fri Oct 30, 2009 10:33 pm

Yes, that's an interesting point about the time period of the story. I don't think there's really anything specific about that in the book, and I assume that was deliberate on Hill's part. Sort of makes it almost timeless - it's just set sometime "in the past." Another of her books, The Man in the Picture, is also a ghost story and makes very nice use of the time aspect. When I read it I assumed it was set in the past, too - until the very end of the book when I realized it was actually present-day (won't say what tipped me off because it's really sort of a spoiler).

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Re: The Woman in Black by Susan Hill

Post by Grad on Sat Oct 31, 2009 4:20 pm

It was probably a good thing that I just got the book in the mail on Thursday. I was forced to read it at (almost) one sitting, which I think held my interest. The book does move a little slowly, but I didn't mind it much. As a scary ghost story, this didn't work for me. But as a dark atmospheric novel it did. Like other Slaves, once Arthur started reading Mrs. Drablow's letters, I figured out who the ghost was and who the child in the pony trap was. But instead of being afraid of the woman in black, I felt sympathetic toward. I wanted to reach out and comfort her. I have experienced grief of all kinds. Somehow we ovecome. Only twice have I experienced a grief I did not believe would ever mend - and, in fact, in many ways never has mended. Both involved the death of a child. I can't imagine ever wishing that grief on anyone - no matter who. And so my sympathy turned to disgust at the end of the book. Malevolence at its very worse. This is the first thing I've read from Susan Hiill. The book was well written enough to prompt me to pick up something else by her.

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Re: The Woman in Black by Susan Hill

Post by Stefanie on Sat Oct 31, 2009 6:15 pm

I've never read any M.R. James so I missed the reference but now I am intrigued to read some James!

Being sympathetic to the ghost does sort of ruin the scare factor, doesn't it Grad? I felt for her too, thought at times that if I were her I'd be haunting the place too so I couldn't blame her. But the fact that she went beyond haunting to killing the children of others, I lost my sympathy for her then.

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Re: The Woman in Black by Susan Hill

Post by Litlove on Sat Oct 31, 2009 6:50 pm

I even got M R James off my shelf and was going to read the story entitled 'I'll whistle for you, my lad!' or whatever it was exactly, with an eye to exploring the parallels. But the day got away from me, you know how it goes. I will certainly do so. As for the time period, I know what you mean - timeless olde worlde - but given the crossover from carts to cars, you might expect 1930s?

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