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The Small Hand [Kindle Edition]

Susan Hill
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Late one summer evening, antiquarian bookseller Adam Snow is returning from a client visit when he takes a wrong turn. He stumbles across a derelict Edwardian house, and compelled by curiosity, approaches the door. Standing before the entrance, he feels the unmistakable sensation of a small cold hand creeping into his own, 'as if a child had taken hold of it'.

At first he is merely puzzled by the odd incident but then begins to suffer attacks of fear and panic, and is visited by nightmares. He is determined to learn more 'about the house and its once-magnificent, now overgrown garden but when he does so, he receives further, increasingly sinister, visits from the small hand.

Editorial Reviews


Masterfully done ... subtle, elegant The Times On chilling form Vogue Short and crisply told ... The tension is built up gradually until it is taut and physical Independent Beautifully evoked ... what's most impressive is what hangs between the spare lines of Hill's precise prose ... this is a wonderful piece of storytelling that does what a good story ought to do: it keeps you guessing, pulls you in -- Jeremy Dyson Guardian Superior chills from the author of The Woman in Black Woman & Home A distinguished modern exponent of the genre ... The entire narrative unrolls like a carpet ... This beautifully written novel may be short, but not one word is wasted ... The sinister child, the rotting mansion, the monastery and the old books are of course familiar gothic props; but Susan Hill uses them to lend depth, as an expert cook uses familiar ingredients to enrich a new recipe, and draws out new flavours from them in the process ... highly recommended for a chilly autumn evening by the fire. And, as a bonus, the book has an exceptionally attractive cover Spectator She builds suspense through easy, elegant prose ... If the proof of a good ghost story is a bad dream, this one worked for me Intelligent Life On top form Good Housekeeping Every bit the treat one would expect ... as ever, not a word is wasted. As seductive as it is disquieting, atmospheric and brilliantly suspenseful The Lady Part of the fear she conjures up, then, is a sense that this could happen to anyone ... Hill's superbly crafted tale doesn't belong to a confessional age, but it does belong to an age where we are all striving for our own identity. Where we all, secretly, long for a ghost to reach out and grip us, make us real -- Lesley MacDowell Scotsman Precise and stylish Big Issue Classic Mail on Sunday 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 Daily Mail Great ghostly reading leading up to Halloween Woman's Day Australia A beautiful volume housing a chilling take on the good old-fashioned ghost story Red Restrained, spare, elegant prose with all the necessary accoutrements ... most definitely suited to reading beside a roaring fire while fingering the thick cream pages of this well-produced hardback -- Sophia Martelli Observer Susan Hill is the grande dame of English supernatural fiction ... The Small Hand is another brilliant exercise in the uncanny ... Hill is a mistress of economy and timing, and although The Small Hand is only the length of a novella, it has the heft of a novel. Each phrase comes balanced on a raft of implication ... an elegant entertainment for a winter's night -- Suzi Feay Financial Times Hill writes with an understated style that gives the story plenty of conviction and although it is set in the present day, a dusty, timeless pall lies over it -- Charlotte Heathcote Sunday Express Gripping from the first page Waterstone's Books Quarterly Wonderfully old fashioned ... Hill is a master of the art of suspense, subtly increasing the creepiness until it is at fever pitch. Eerie and compelling from start to finish Attitude No one chills the heart like Susan Hill Daily Telegraph Hill knows how to give readers a good fright Instyle Magazine, Australia A chilling and beguiling small treasure of a story Herald on Sunday, NZ This supernatural chiller is gripping and unnerving, the sort of book you devour in one sitting The Age, Australia A chilling meditation on how long-buried secrets can rise to haunt us, this story won't leave you in a hurry Who Weekly Magazine, Australia There is a thrilling building terror in this elegant but restrained ghost story Herald Sun, Australia A twisting psychological drama where disaster looms at every turn Daily Telegraph, Sydney Splendidly unsettling Daily Express As one might expect from an author with such a fine track record in the art of chilling the spine, Hill is adept at conjuring a feeling of unease from the smallest details of place and circumstance ... For Hill, as for her great predecessors, M. R. James and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the uncanny is never very far beneath the surface and the darkest place of all is the human mind. Giving a troubling, contemporary resonance to the traditional ghost story form, The Small Hand is as good as anything the author has written The Times A classic ghost story with the same combination of charm and chill which characterised The Woman in Black Independent on Sunday

About the Author

Susan Hill is the winner of numerous literary prizes including the Somerset Maugham award. Her literary memoir, Howards End Is On The Landing [9781846682667] and the ghost story The Man In The Picture [9781846681349] are both published by Profile. Her bestselling novel The Woman in Black is currently being filmed for theatrical release.

Product Details

  • File Size: 853 KB
  • Print Length: 188 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1846682363
  • Publisher: Profile Books (September 2, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0041KLCWK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #333,284 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read, but a little too formulaic July 10, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
Many, many years ago I read Susan Hill's The Woman in Black (1983), and remember what a good ghost story that was; and she has now returned to this genre. The ingredients are traditional: the central character is a dealer in antique books; he comes across a derelict house, set in an overgrown garden. Entering the grounds, he feels a child's hand in his own, but there is noone there. In due course he learns that "something happened there, but it was all hushed up." The memory of the experience never quite leaves him. Some weeks later he begins to experience panic attacks, for no reason that he can explain. And then he feels the hand again, fiercely trying to pull him to some disaster... It's a good read, and the ending, despite the clues in the book, is somewhat unexpected; but this is not as good a book as Susan Hill's earlier ones: the various atmospheric devices were too formulaic, too familiar for me to experience any frisson.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Small Hand January 10, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Not one of the best ghost stories, by a long shot. (I have always had an issue with vengeful spirits of innocent children.) However, Hill does know how to convey feelings of dread and anxiety exceedingly well. It is worth a read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars She Believes in Ghosts December 27, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
At present, if there is a better ghost story writer than Susan Hill ,I don't know who it is.No this isn't as good as the WOMAN IN BLACK.However, it is a quick satisfying read.Hill doesn't insist in "naturalizing" or debunking her ghosts. They are ghosts- period- not products of delusion , confusion or insanity.They aren't altogether comprehensible and they are scary because they are dead peoples spirits. Also they aren't friendly or well intentioned .When you meet them, fun and romance do not ensue. This one centers on a child spirit out for revenge.It's not terrifying but it's creepy and unsettling.It took me about three hours to read and I found it hard to put down.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Scary good fun August 16, 2013
By Katie
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Loved the story, nice plot line with twists and surprises. Creepy and fun. I am a sucker for gothic horror, so this was a perfect fit.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Hill's Best May 11, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Not nearly as good as Susan Hill's other books; this one reads like something she wrote quickly and did not put much effort into. More superficial than her other books; characters not well-developed.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Eerie story. Great flow. September 27, 2013
By Kim
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The story isn't so much scary as it is haunting and eerie. It was a great read that will linger in your head when you finish. I highly recommend it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Lucinda
This exceptional and bestselling ghost story is by the author of The Woman in Black and The man in the picture. It is about Adam Snow, a blameless antiquarian bookseller who has a series of supernatural experiences; when a small hand grasps his, sometimes passively and sometimes with malevolent intent. Wherever he goes and wherever he travels he is almost certain to encounter the ghostly phenomenon. Included are some really wonderful and atmospheric descriptions, including those of the monastery of saint Mathieu, that is really beautiful and well-written. The main character and narrator tells of his experiences with `the small hand' in such a compelling and believable way as to really pull you into the story and into the peculiarity of it all. I certainly thought that the rather peculiar and original storyline was very interesting and it made a change to read something a little different to your average, stereotypical horror story.

After one particular night Adam Snow finds himself journeying through the downs on his commute back to the hustle and bustle of London, only to then discover himself truly lost. Eventually he comes upon a house that has a sign up saying `garden closed' and then decides being a rather conspicuous house, to go in and ask for directions. However all is not as it seems when he comes upon the derelict house, for when he then turns around to return to the car a presence is lurking within the shadows and a small hand clutches hold of him.

This story certainly takes the imagination on quite a journey as this `small hand' is something not visible and yet to the protagonist is something very real and definitely present.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars good read August 7, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Story line held my interest. Found myself regretting when I had to stop reading, impatient to get back to it.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The small hands
Amazing! I could'n put this book down. Here is a lesson to be learnt. Trust your instincts and follow them. Don't lie.
Published 10 months ago by mary mazzella
3.0 out of 5 stars OK read
I quite liked this Susan Hill story, was scary in parts but actually quite touching. Great twist at the end too. Only disappointment was it was not long enough.
Published 14 months ago by kylie brooke mcvicar
4.0 out of 5 stars Not as scary as I was hoping
There were no actual "scares" in this ghost story, but I got so worked up anticipating one that the tension while I was reading this tiny book was the same as if it was a... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Sarah Frost
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Superb Ghost Story from a Master!
Despite her relatively modest output, Susan Hill has to be one of the best living writers of the ghost story in the classic British tradition. Read more
Published 22 months ago by tularosa
5.0 out of 5 stars chilling, brilliant
An unusual story, builds and reels you in. Very atmospheric and spooky but gives you a sense of the terror of it all. A definite good read.
Published 22 months ago by Doylie8
5.0 out of 5 stars Good read
Ms. Hill draws you into the story with her wonderfully description prose! You actually see and feel the character's movements-I love it!
Published on April 24, 2013 by Deborah Svatos-clark
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting twist
Fast read of a twisting ghostly tale. Well worth the short time taken. Ms.Hill is a wonderful writer. I will pass this book along to family and friends as I have with her others.
Published on April 3, 2013 by mrock
5.0 out of 5 stars Great ghost story
True to Susan Hill. Interesting and unusual ghost story that's fun to read. Hate putting it down. Worth the money
Published on March 24, 2013 by Mike
5.0 out of 5 stars Spooky ghost story
I love Susan hill' s Serrailler mysteries, and I especially love her ghost stories. This is another good one. If you love ghost stories then this will not disappoint you!
Published on February 3, 2013 by Jennifer t.
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