Book Review: The Woman In Black, by Susan Hill
Book Description from Goodreads.com: Arthur Kipps, a junior solicitor, is summoned to attend the funeral Mrs Alice Drablow, the sole inhabitant of Eel Marsh House, unaware of the tragic secrets which lie hidden behind the shuttered windows. The house stands at the end of a causeway, wreathed in fog and mystery, but it is not until he glimpses a wasted young woman, dressed all in black, at the funeral, that a creeping sense of unease begins to take hold, a feeling deepened by the reluctance of the locals to talk of the woman in black - and her terrible purpose.</i>
The opening of The Woman In Black is quite nice, the writing is descent and it reminds me of the Victorian Gothic vampire short stories I used to read. But sadly there is a downside to the Victorian Gothic horror style the author, Susan Hill, tried to channel: the writing of Victorian Gothic horror is always dry, boring, reeks of dusty old English and overused cliches. Very sadly Susan Hill didn't make anything new out of this overused old genre. There's a even bigger flaw than boring writing in the book: The Woman In Black is supposed to be a thriller but to me the haunting in the books is utterly underwhelming. I know, being left alone in a lone house which belongs to a dead old woman, seeing strange figures appearing out of nowhere, hearing chilling noise in the middle of the night is supposed to be super scary, but those scary scenes come off being very forced and plain.I would also like to add that the narrator, a self proclaimed unimaginative lawyer, doesn't even manage to look his part. I mean, an unimaginative person reading poetry and taking time paying attention to every detail of the landscape? Not very likely. If you want to be scared out of your skin, if you want to enjoy some good old, honest to goodness Gothic horror, try Edgar Allan Poe, try H P. Lovecraft, etc. Don't bother with this one. Or you can always try watching The Woman In Black movie, I'm positive that the movie can do a lot better than the book if it were directed by a descent director.