I don't think that there has been another Guardian book club where the presence of teenagers who had studied the book in class was so evident as it was when Susan Hill came to discuss her novel. Several seemed to be checking their essay arguments — or their teachers' responses — with the author. Could the reader not decide that the ghost was a figment of the narrator's fearful imagination, fed by his isolation?
Share via Email Susan Hill. This is a ghost story, so we start with the storyteller.
Literary critics rarely use this last term, preferring to talk of the "narrator". But when it comes to hauntings this traditional description is fitting. Arthur Kipps is giving us a tale that he is condemned by his own memories to tell.
When the novella opens, he is a man in late middle age, surrounded by adult stepchildren at Christmas.
Naturally they begin to tell ghost stories: Christmas is the time for this, when the year is darkest and family or friends are gathered together to be entertained.
For the classic ghost story is a performance. Some of the best ghost stories — The Turn of the Screw is the most famous example — begin with this situation: The master of the ghost story, the Cambridge don MR Jamesused to read his latest compositions out loud to friends before publishing them.
Most ghost stories are novellas or short stories, so that they might be fitted into a single, uninterrupted reading. Arthur is too darkly haunted by the story that he has in his head to join in the family game.
The story has to be told, but must be difficult to tell. In the opening of this narrative the storyteller talks of coming out "from under the long shadow cast by the events of the past".
At its end, the storyteller has managed a difficult task. Thus the book's terse concluding sentences: I have told it. Arthur himself uses this metaphor for the act of narration. Or you could think that it shows him still possessed by the fears that the story has re-awakened.
As a young man, Arthur, then a junior solicitor in a London law firm, was sent to the remote town of Crythin Gifford to sort out the papers of a recently dead client of the firm, Mrs Alice Drablow.
Of course she had lived in a gloomy mansion — Eel Marsh House — cut off from the village by a causeway that is only passable at low tide. Of course the locals are fearful of the place and yet highly reluctant to talk of their fears.
Readers will recognise some of the conventional properties of this highly conventional form: Arthur the storyteller recalls his own youthful scepticism — "I did not believe in ghosts" — but we know that the person who tells the story has been made to think differently.
In a time-honoured generic pattern, this ghost story throws a particular light on the storyteller, asking us to notice not just what happens in his narrative, but what has happened to him.
He confesses near the opening of his tale that "for many years now" his spirits have been "excessively affected by the ways of the weather".
Something has happened to him, we infer, to produce this "susceptibility". It is another way back into the past. For in the story that he eventually tells, the weather will be a disturbingly active element. In the story, the much younger Arthur stumbles after the truth of the narrative into which he has been thrust.
What has happened in this house? What terrible events are recorded in Mrs Drablow's chaotic papers? In a crucial episode, this stumbling is literal: But the real fumbling is that of the storyteller recalling the episode; we experience the drama in the present, as he tries to understand his experiences.
He remembers how, in the dark, empty nursery of the house, he felt something worse than terror. The proper telling of the story depends upon narrative suppression.
As we near the conclusion, Arthur recalls his departure from Crythin Gifford and re-enters his hopeful past self.Nov 23, · Handily, Susan Hill has included a bibliographical list of books mentioned in Jacob’s Room is Full of Books.
I’d say helpfully, but it’s also dangerous as I’ve decided I need several of them, Duncan Fallowell’s travel writing included.
Simon Serrailler, a police Chief Inspector in Lafferton, England: The Various Haunts of Men (Simon Serrailler, #1), The Pure in Heart (Simon Serrailler. 12 А ВIT OF SINGING AND DANCING The text extract under analysis comes from the short story А ВIT OF SINGING AND DANCING written by Susan Hill.
The author is known as a British short story writer, novelist, playwright and critic. ”The Woman in Black” by Susan Hill Essay Sample. Having read Susan Hill’s novel ‘The Woman in Black’ as well as studied Stephen Mallatratts adaptation for the stage, how effective is the ghost story genre on stage?
The Comforts of Home, Susan Hill's new Simon Serrailler crime novel, and book 9 in the series, is published in the autumn. You can order your signed copy. Hardback published price is £ Simon Serrailler, a police Chief Inspector in Lafferton, England: The Various Haunts of Men (Simon Serrailler, #1), The Pure in Heart (Simon Serrailler, Home My Books.