Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Woman in Black by Susan Hill

I don't recall exactly when it was that I first heard about the movie adaptation of Susan Hill's The Woman In Black, but I know I've been dying to see it since that day. I bought the book, I've watched each new trailer with great anticipation, and I've literally bounced in my seat upon seeing it in the theaters. And this Friday, the wait will finally be over. All I can say is that I sincerely hope it lives up to expectations (and based on what I've read so far, I expect it to).

I love a great ghost story. Love them! They're my favorite particular flavor of horror. When done well, an author can build the ultimate in suspense and atmosphere while revealing little to nothing at all.

This is the case with The Woman in Black, a brief looking novel that's deceptively heavy. It's my first by Hill, but certainly not my last. I've had my eye on her Simon Serrailler series for a while and she's got a few more ghost stories in her backlist as well.

It's Christmas and Arthur Kipps's family is sitting around the fire telling ghost stories. What they don't know is that Arthur himself has been sitting on a tale of his own, one that is too tragic to recall. It's been years since he was sent out to Eel Marsh House to close out the house of the then recently deceased Alice Drablow. What Kipps experienced in that lonely and dank house has stayed with him all these years and has never been revealed to those around him. If Kipps has his way, it never will be, but the tale demands telling and so he has decided to write it out, if only for himself.

I'd expected the book to be a one sitting read -- at just 135 pages, who could blame me? Hill's writing begs to be read at its own pace, though. While it can certainly make for a perfect companion on a dreary afternoon, it took me about three sittings when all was said and done. I can say that I was sad to turn the final page and leave behind the gothic atmosphere built by Hill's words.

It's creepy and dark and I can't wait to see what the big screen has in store! I expect it will be slightly different, based on the description, that's to be expected, but if they can pull off the essence of the story... that will be the true test.

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