Title: The Woman In Black
Author: Susan Hill
Genre: Horror, Mystery, Paranormal
First published: October 10th 1983
Finished reading: April 22nd 2014
(Read in Spanish: ‘La Mujer De Negro’)
“For a long time, I did not move from the dark, wood-panelled hall. I wanted company, and I had none, lights and warmth and a strong drink inside me, I needed reassurance. But, more than anything else, I needed an explanation. It is remarkable how powerful a force simple curiosity can be. I had never realized that before now. In spite of my intense fear and sense of shock, I was consumed with the desire to find out exactly who it was that I had seen, and how, I could not rest until I had settled the business, for all that, while out there, I had not dared to stay and make any investigations.”
I couldn’t find an English version of this novel, so I decided to read it in Spanish. I didn’t realize it was going to be an old fashioned ghost story, but I must say I wasn’t really bothered by it. The storyline in general was interesting and made you wonder what really happened at the isolated Eel Marsh house in the past and what is happening now. What did bother me was the language used, which made it slow to read at some points. But then again, that might or might not be due to inadequate translation. I guess I will have to read the original version before I will be able to judge the language…
The Woman In Black is about an older Arthur Kipps, who after hearing ghost stories on Christmas Eve with his family remembers a terrifying event. Many years ago, when he was a young lawyer and having a relationship with a different woman, his then boss asked him to attend a funeral of one of their clients and sort out the paperwork, since there were no direct relatives. The old woman lived at an old and isolated mansion Eel Marsh, and a lot of rumors and stories go around in the villages closest to Eel Marsh. As an outsider Arthur doesn’t know about any of this, but is soon introduced to the mystery of the woman in black. When he goes to Eel Marsh, strange things are starting to happen, terrifying things… Arthur realizes the woman in black he keeps seeing isn’t really alive anymore, and a ghost story is born. What will happen to Arthur, and what about the curse of the woman in black? And the children?
The end made a nice twist; it showed that the spirit of woman in black had a lot of power even far away from the Eel Marsh house. It’s not the typical ghost story and in parts I didn’t like the language used, but it is still worth reading. Plus, it is a short novel, so not a lot of time wasted in case you don’t like it. I might re-read it myself but only if I find an English version.