The Small Hand: A Ghost Story

Friday, January 21, 2011

Rolling back the years to when I was eight years old my Mum bought me a book to read by her favourite author. The book was called Friends Next Door and the author was Susan Hill, I really loved that book and it still stands at a jaunty angle on my bookshelf, among my cherished Brambly Hedge series by Jill Barklem and the occasional musty smelling Dickens. Later when I was at university I went to a theatre production of The Woman in Black which is in my top five plays of all time- if you haven't seen it yet, you really must, it's very eerie and spectacularly executed. So I was pretty chuffed with my recent purchase of The Small Hand: A Ghost Story by none other than the wonderful Susan Hill. 
  
I devoured the novella in less than a day. The chilling tale of an antiquarian book dealer and his encounter with the supernatural presence of a drowned infant, gripped my imagination. Susan Hill's  beautifully constructed narrative is short and concise, carefully chosen to heighten the tension and guide you into the Gothic mystery surrounding the derelict Edwardian White House. Each page gave me the same intense thrill that I experienced in the spooky setting of Plymouth's Theatre Royal last winter when I watched The Woman in Black. The Small Hand is the perfect book for a cold winter's night and I was once again in awe of Susan Hill's ability to transport her reader's into a paranormal world where ghosts unknowingly lie just a hair's breadth away...


I guess what I love most about Susan Hill's literature is that as I have grown albeit only to 5"1, her books seem to have grown with me, or I have caught up with them, I'm not sure which way around it is. Either way, her literature still captures my imagination with the same tender subtleties as it did when I was eight. The only problem now is that I have to sleep with the light on...
A superb author with a brilliant choice in beads!

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