Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Woman in Black

Finished The Woman in Black by Susan Hill, originally published in 1983. I had some time to kill last Saturday, so I was browsing the fiction shelves at the public library, looking for something intriguing and slender to read. I happened upon the binding of this book and recognized the author's name. I pulled the book down and found an upholstered chair to sit in. It wasn't until I glanced at the cover as I opened the book that I realized that it was a movie tie-in edition for the film version starring Daniel Radcliffe, which came out last year. Oh well, I'd read it anyway.

The book was good, the murky, marshy, quicksandy godforsaken end-of-the-earth setting reminded me of The Moonstone by Wilke Collins. The first person traveling narrative reminded me of the voice of Doctor Watson narrating the various adventures of Sherlock Holmes. The woman in black, seen in the distance reminded me of the ghost of the governess in James' The Turn of the Screw. I make these comparisons as compliments. They made the book feel like an old friend. I read it in a few days while I was at home with another bout of shingles. Perhaps not as terrifying as the jacket implies, but a good gothic read nonetheless.

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