Susan Hill rss


A Gothic horror story of quicksands, riptides and rituals

29 August 2015
The Loney Andrew Michael Hurley

John Murray, pp.360, £14.99, ISBN: 9781905784691

This is a muddle of novel (originally published last year by Tartarus Press in a limited edition), though there are plenty of indications that the author will go on to… Read more


Susan Hill’s French notebook: My struggle to avoid local cuisine

11 July 2015

An overnight stop on the Ile de Ré taken between the St Malo ferry and the Quercy, where we always spend June, reminds one how closely French history lives entangled… Read more

Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Anne Tyler Photo: Getty

A pointillist painting in prose

14 February 2015
A Spool of Blue Thread Anne Tyler

Chatto, pp.368, £18.99, ISBN: 9780701189518

There was nothing remarkable about the Whitshanks. None of them was famous. None of them could claim exceptional intelligence, and in looks they were no more than average….Their family firm… Read more

Candida Lycett Green

The wonderful and unpredictable Candida Lycett Green

30 August 2014

With Candida, you learned to expect the unexpected. She said she might make the charity sale at my house on Thursday, but not to rely on her. I didn’t. But… Read more


How the NHS fails new mothers on breast-feeding

14 June 2014

There is really no question about whether it is best for babies to be breast-fed, at least for the first few weeks of life. Plenty of research from around the… Read more

Lydia Davis (Photo: David Levenson)

Don't let creative writing students read this book

12 April 2014
Can’t and Won’t Lydia Davis

Hamish Hamilton, pp.283, £16.99, ISBN: 9780374118589

One of these is by Lydia Davis, acclaimed American writer. One is not. They are whole pieces, by the way, not extracts. This morning I went into the park I… Read more


Susan Hill short story: The Boy on the Hillside

14 December 2013

Listen to Susan Hill read The Boy on the Hillside: The boy, Seth, stirred in his sleep. ‘Cold…’ He had pushed the blanket off, with his tossing and turning about.… Read more

The Good Nurse, by Charles Graeber - review

24 August 2013
The Good Nurse Charles Graeber

Atlantic Books, pp.320, £12.99, ISBN: 9781782393474

Charles Cullen, an American nurse, murdered several hundred patients by the administration in overdose of restricted drugs. Hospitals should be safe places but they are actually rather dangerous: mistakes are… Read more

The Breath of Night, by Michael Arditti

27 July 2013
The Breath of Night Michael Arditti

Arcadia Books, pp.300, £11.99, ISBN: 9780957330450

There is always meat in Michael Arditti’s novels. He is a writer who presents moral problems via fiction but is subtle and shrewd enough to know that ‘issue books’, which… Read more

Blood Pressure Test

NHS GPs should charge for appointments. Here’s why

29 June 2013

The Chairman of the Royal College of GPs recently said that ‘general practice has radically altered over the last five years, with ballooning workloads and more and more patient consultations… Read more

Margot Asquith

Susan Hill

18 May 2013

I bet you remember your first fountain pen. Mine was a Conway Stewart with marbled barrel, I had it for starting Big School and I used to polish it. That… Read more

Susan Hill

8 December 2012

Finding an outfit for a wedding is a doddle compared with finding one for an investiture and I wonder how sensible it was to buy my hat first. I love… Read more

The phantom lover

28 January 2012
The Greatcoat Helen Dunmore

Hammer, pp.208, 9.99

Driving past several long abandoned second- world-war airfields in East Anglia last year I was struck by how spooky they seemed, just like the decommissioned army base that used to… Read more


Winter Notebook

17 December 2011

You don’t go to North Norfolk in winter for good weather, but we had it — vast blue skies, sunshine and a couple of wild gales. North Norfolk in summer,… Read more

Blue Night by Joan Didion

12 November 2011
Blue Night Joan Didion

Fourth Estate, pp.188, 14.99

This is a raw, untidy, ragged book. Well, grief is all of those things. On the other hand, Didion wrote about the death of her husband in an iconic memoir,… Read more

The great detective

1 October 2011
Enthusiasms Mark Girouard

Frances Lincoln, pp.162, 12.99

As a child, Mark Girouard must have been easy to buy for at Christmas.  An ideal gift would have been a puzzle, preferably the sort that looks easy, but is… Read more


The villain as hero

14 May 2011
The Doll: Short Stories Daphne du Maurier

Virago, pp.224, 8.99

Juvenilia is an unfortunate word, with its connotations of the derogatory ‘juvenile’. Juvenilia is an unfortunate word, with its connotations of the derogatory ‘juvenile’. When they reach adult estate, most… Read more

M. R. James’s dark world

18 December 2010

M. R. James died at peace with himself and the world. We can be reasonably confident in claiming that after reading about his last weeks, during which he was ill,… Read more

Under the skin

27 November 2010
Perfect Lives Polly Samson

Virago, pp.223, 15.99

Why do so many aspiring writers think it best to begin with the short story and graduate to the novel? It’s madness. The short story is infinitely harder to write… Read more

Futile phantoms

9 October 2010
The English Ghost Peter Ackroyd

Chatto, pp.276, 12.99

But of course this new book is by Peter Ackroyd, celebrated biographer, historian and chronicler, a bit of a polymath, a man who has written wonderfully informative and erudite books… Read more


31 July 2010

Iolanthe is howling round the house like a woman for her Demon Lover. Occasionally she comes and pats my arm. ‘OK, the joke’s wearing thin now. Please give me my… Read more


Unhelpful issues

10 February 2010
The Other Family Joanna Trollope

Transworld, pp.336, 18.99

It would not have been so easy to describe what Joanna Trollope’s early novels were ‘about’ in a few words, but recently she has been writing what the Americans call… Read more


3 February 2010

In the middle of a gloomy chat with one of my publishers about the parlous state of the book trade and wearing my own small-publisher hat at the time, we… Read more

Avoiding the Wide World

14 December 2009

The clue comes early on in the book. ‘Beyond the Wild Wood comes the Wide World,’ said the Rat, ‘And that’s something that doesn’t matter either to you or me.… Read more

Chic lit

11 November 2009
Redeeming Features Nicholas Haslam

Cape, pp.348, 25

First, I must declare an interest. I have never met Nicholas Haslam. As everyone else has, this makes me uniquely qualified to review his book without partiality. But not without… Read more