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The Small Hand (2010)

de Susan Hill

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5314635,528 (3.4)84
Returning home from a client visit late one evening, Adam Snow takes a wrong turn and stumbles across the derelict old White House. Compelled by curiousity he decides to enter, only to be repelled when he feels the unmistakeable sensation of a small hand creeping onto his own. This is just the beginning of a series of odd experiences.… (mais)
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Mostrando 1-5 de 46 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
It was a place which had been left to the air and the weather, the wind, the sun, the rabbits and the birds, left to fall gently, sadly into decay, for stones to crack and paths to be obscured and then to disappear, for windowpanes to let in the rain and birds to nest in the roof. Gradually, it would sink in on itself and then into the earth. How old was this house? A hundred years? In another hundred there would be nothing left of it.

I turned. I could barely see ahead now. Whatever the garden, now "closed," had been, nature had taken it back, covered it with blankets of ivy and trailing strands of creeper, thickened it over with weed, sucked the light and the air out of it so that only the toughest plants could grow and in growing invade and occupy.

I should go back.

But I wanted to know more.


I feel obligated to say up front that I am probably being unfair to this book. I am tempted to bump it up a star just because.

This is a much better plotted and neatly delivered little ghost story than [b:The Mist in the Mirror|678362|The Mist in the Mirror|Susan Hill|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1420351953s/678362.jpg|664356]. In this tale, she stays with exactly one source of supernatural tension, manifesting almost always in the same single way. The opening chapters made the hair stand up on my arms. The sensation of being lost on country roads, of finding a deserted place, of the small hand. And the book is filled with moments like that, moments I could easily reference real fears from my own experience and let them be drawn forward in the story. (Well, not the small hand. But she makes it seem like something I could experience, and that is the key to real suspense.)

And then the side trail intervenes and the plot is lost. And the side trail isn't just any side trail; it's a totally out of left field wholly unbelievable one. I appreciate the love for books that shines through in the lady's work, but this was just impossible for me. Seriously, I don't care how adverse to dealing with the financials those monks were. The instant they decided to sell a First Folio they would have had ahold of Sotheby's in two seconds flat. Monks aren't stupid. I put the book down for most of a week. The tension drained away. The story and the writing held up when I got back to it, but never recovered from that loss.

So, if Ms. Hill ever writes a book that stays on task, it will scare the jeepers out of me, I already know it. In the meantime, I will continue to wish that she would pare these things down. This one could have lost 50 pages and the whole trip to France and it would have been a very nearly perfect ghost story. If you are more patient than I am (or have fewer hang ups about Shakespeare), you may well enjoy this one quite a lot more.

(Note: read in [b:The Small Hand and Dolly|17288633|The Small Hand and Dolly|Susan Hill|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1369779573s/17288633.jpg|23909819] but I prefer to review the separately published works in omnibus editions unless there is something unique to the omnibus. No such difference here.) ( )
  amyotheramy | May 11, 2021 |
Honestly I am annoyed that I didn't just wait for this via the library, but since my house is empty of furniture and my bookshelves are wrapped up, I don't want to have a pile of books just sitting around from the library. "The Small Hand" starts off very well and then flounders from there to a very disappointing and confusing ending. I was left with way more questions than answers and kept trying to see if any reviewers had any insight into this book. Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be any explanations out there regarding the ending, so maybe I will post on Goodreads and see what people say.

An antiquarian book seller named Adam Snow ends up getting lost and finds an abandoned home. Once called the White House, it was famous far and wide for the gardens that the owner had installed. Adam stumbles around and realizes as he is there, that a small cold hand takes his own. Only problem is that there is no one there. After taking hold of the small hand, Adam is in essence haunted. He starts to find out drips and drabs about the White House and a tragic accident that takes place there.

I don't know. Adam was intriguing, but Hill doesn't do enough to develop him. I was most disappointed that Hill spends time on Adam looking into a rare book that a friend of his tells him about. We spend way too much time on that than on Adam having a panic attack that almost leads to him drowning himself.

I felt the most frustrated though when Adam realizes a slim connection to White House and doesn't pursue it.

When we get to the ending and the reveal it just fell flat. I had a lot of questions and wanted to know the why behind some things.

If you really want to read this, suggest getting it at a library, not worth buying it via Kindle or Nook. ( )
  ObsidianBlue | Jul 1, 2020 |
This one isn't quite as scary as I was expecting given my experience with other books by Susan Hill. It's still spooky, though, and, like Hill's other books, makes the reader question whether mental illness might account for the seemingly supernatural occurrences, a bit of mental gymnastics that brings me joy. ( )
  ImperfectCJ | Jun 28, 2020 |
A creepy little tale but for most of it I was imagining a 1950s setting and then towards the end there were references to emails and mobiles. ( )
  Georgina_Watson | Jun 14, 2020 |
The Small hand is my favorite type of ghost story. It is not overly drawn-out or gory, simply a curious story with a pinch of the supernatural. ( )
  KateSavage | Mar 29, 2019 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 46 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
Veteran author Susan Hill established herself as a mistress of the ghost story with The Woman In Black, although this - like the more recent The Man In The Picture - is shorter, a novella really, one-dimensional and shorn of any sub-plot. It proves intriguing rather than chilling, although some may find the end guessable well before they get there.

Nevertheless, it’s hugely enjoyable and a perfect read for a couple of hours by the ­fireside on a dark winter’s evening, and would make an ideal Christmas stocking filler.
adicionado por Nickelini | editarDaily Mail, John Harding (Oct 7, 2010)
 
Ultimately, this is a wonderful piece of storytelling that does what a good story ought to do: it keeps you guessing, pulls you in. And when the climax comes, the explanation and the source of the haunting are not what you think at all. You really don't see it coming.
adicionado por Nickelini | editarthe Guardian, Jeremy Dyson (Sep 25, 2010)
 

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Nome do autorFunçãoTipo de autorObra?Status
Hill, Susanautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Cameron, StewartNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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Returning home from a client visit late one evening, Adam Snow takes a wrong turn and stumbles across the derelict old White House. Compelled by curiousity he decides to enter, only to be repelled when he feels the unmistakeable sensation of a small hand creeping onto his own. This is just the beginning of a series of odd experiences.

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