Thursday, December 8, 2011

Chills, Thrills & Daniel Radcliffe!

U.K. Edition 2011
Harry Potter is all grown up and graduated to a wonderfully gothic looking film.  In February 2012 The Woman In Black will open just in time to scare the pants off all those lovers for Valentine's Day!  After being creeped out by the trailer (and discovering that the film is based on a novel) I decided to read the original text.  Susan Hill's The Woman in Black was first published in 1986 and lead to one of the longest running West End plays to ever thrill and audience.
The plot is rather simple: A young lawyer, Arthur, is sent out from London to a small villiage to handle the post-mortem affairs of one of the firm's odder clients.  When he arrives in the village he discovers that there is a bit more to the woman's affairs than he expected and soon encounters a vengeful spirit tied to a mystery more than 50 years old.
A few pages into the first chapter of Hill's masterpiece, I realized that I had seen the play many years previously at the Alley Theatre in Houston - without realizing that the script was based on a novel.  I remember the play as being wonderfully atmospheric and spine-tingling and was certainly not dissapointed in the original story.  Ms. Hill has a way of describing a scene while still allowing the reader to use their imagination:
 "Tonight, I smelled at once, and with a lightening heart, that there had been a change in the weather. All the previous week, we had had rain, chilling rain and a mist that lay low about the house and over the countryside...Inside the house, the lamps were lit throughout the day and the walls of larder, outhouse and cellar oozed damp and smelled sour, the fires sputtered and smoked, burning dismally low."
(Chapter 1).
Like the very best of gothic fiction, The Woman in Black is both mentally engaging and wonderfully dark.  I was unable to put this novel down and finished in about a day. Highly recommended.  This is one of my new favorites and I can't wait for the movie!

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