Wednesday 8 November 2017

Book Review: The Travelling Bag: And Other Ghostly Stories by Susan Hill

Yeah, I don't know why I keep reading Susan Hill either.

From the foggy streets of Victorian London to the eerie perfection of 1950s suburbia, the everyday is invaded by the evil otherworldly in this unforgettable collection of new ghost stories from the author of The Woman in Black. 

In the title story, on a murky evening in a warmly lit club off St James, a bishop listens closely as a paranormal detective recounts his most memorable case, one whose horrifying denouement took place in that very building. 

In 'The Front Room', a devoutly Christian mother tries to protect her children from the evil influence of their grandmother, both when she is alive and when she is dead. 

A lonely boy finds a friend in 'Boy Number 21', but years later he is forced to question the nature of that friendship, and to ask whether ghosts can perish in fires.

So I have a hate-hate relationships with Hill, I find her horror to be boring and pretentious, with a lack of sympathic characters. I have reviewed two of her works (read 4 I think): The Small Hand and The Woman in Black. This book contains four short stories, which feel like Hill's abandoned works. Some of them don't feel like they have proper endings. Unlike my usual way of reviewing short stories, I'm reviewing them indivdiually from memory instead of writing mini-reviews as I read them.

The Travelling Bag: So this is the Victorianish set and we learn the story of someone getting revenge and then random fear of moths for no reason. This has a weird Narrative device as someone telling their fellow club memember the worst, spookest case they ever worked. How he knows the information he does is never explained and doesn't feel like him actually tellling the story. This feels like a series idea and I thought all the stories were going to be told as if they were cases this guy had, had, but no it was just one off. It adds nothing, but set up for disappointment. If we had just been the actual story instead of the weird narrative deice, I would have enjoyed it better. 2/5 stars for sweeping bodies.

Boy Number 21: This is the worst story. So very little happens in it and I was expecting something big with the set up. The big problem is a bigging up to nothing. Not a field trip and a possible psychotic break. 1/5 stars for squished Sandwiches.

Alice Baker:  This is probably the best. It doesn't have a weird narrator and has a concise ending that makes sense. It also from a female character's POV and it wasn't Hill's typical, terrible ghost motivation. This one takes place in an old office building where a new staff member cause a stink. I Not sure why it's was the one left out of the burb. 4/5 stars for Office Politics.

The Front Room: It's Hill's favourite thing. A spiteful person for the sake of being spiteful. Then she a spiteful ghost. A family does a nice thing by taking in an old lady, the father's step-mother. Most of it is set up and then dur-dur-DUR. 1/5 stars for only a shower.

Overall, I give this book 1/5 stars for mediocre nonsense. This book is just bad. There's one story that's worth a read but the others' are Hill's typical mess of work, except some of these feel like Hill just gave up and declare them short stories instead.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for linking up to the British Books Challenge