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Review: The Man in the Picture, by Susan Hill


The Man in the Picture is a small book. As in, it’s only 142 pages, and its trim size, according to Amazon.com, is 6.9 x. 4.5’’. It’s more of a short story than a novella. Therefore, it only took me about an hour to finish.

The story revolves around an 18th century painting, of a scene at Carnevale in Venice, and the deep, dark secrets hidden within. The Man in the Picture has four narrators. One is Oliver, a medieval scholar. The second is his old professor at Cambridge, Dr. Parmitter. The third is the Countess, and the fourth is Oliver’s fiancé, Anne. This is a tale of revenge and obsession, and it works to a certain extent. However, the story is so short that there’s very little room for character development. The story and the method of telling the story aren’t very original—Hill has used it several times in her ghost stories (The Woman in Black comes to mind). And you could see the ending coming from a mile away. Still, I enjoyed the premise of this little ghost story, and I definitely recommend reading it on a cold autumn day.

Also reviewed by: A Life in Books, A High and Hidden Place, Tripping Towards Lucidity

Comments

michellekae said…
I have found that most short stories have a hard time developing characters.
Andi said…
I have this one out from the library right now, and I was considering taking it back unread. Based on your review and the shortness, I'll probably whip through it right quick. :)

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2015 Reading

January
1. The Vanishing Witch, by Karen Maitland
2. Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen
3. Texts From Jane Eyre, by Mallory Ortberg
4. Brighton Rock, by Graham Green
5. Brat Farrar, by Josephine Tey
6. Eat, Pray, Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert
7. Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy
8. A Movable Feast, by Ernest Hemingway
9. A Room of One's Own, by Virginia Woolf
10. Other Voices, Other Rooms, by Truman Capote
11. Maggie-Now, by Betty Smith

February
1. Middlemarch, by George Eliot
2. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
3. Nerdy, Shy, and Socially Inappropriate, by Cynthia Lee
4. Music For Chameleons, by Truman Capote
5. Peyton Place, by Grace Metalious
6. Unrequited, by Lisa Phillips
7. Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh
8. A Lost Lady, by Willa Cather

March
1. Persuasion, by Jane Austen
2. Love With a Chance of Drowning, by Torre DeRoche
3. One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
4. Miss Buncle's Book, by DE Stevenson
5. One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garc…