Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Book Review: THE MAN IN THE PICTURE by Susan Hill

I am beginning to think that I do not I do not have a normal book genre and I am being pulled in new directions, in a good way. I NEVER read scary books. I am what my husband call wussy, I hate scary movies, books, rides, anything scary, because I get genuinely scared. In college I read a book called In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. For all of you who have never watched the TV show friends, on one particular episode Joey finds that Rachel has a book in her freezer, and he asks what the heck it it doing there. She replied "it is so scary when I read it I get scared and throw it into the freezer afterwards" the book was The Shining. Joey in the end becomes scared of the book too after reading it. I feel the same way about Capote's book, so much still to his day that I came across the book at my moms house and it made me cringe almost ten years later.

I was initially drawn to this book because of its physical appearance, being the size of a half book, and having less than 150 pages. I figured even though it said it was a ghost story, I was going to be brave and try and read it. I was pleasantly surprised that it was more of a eerie thriller and not too scary.

Oliver who lives in London, pays a visit to an old Cambridge professor of his who he has genuinely become friends with over the years. During his visit to Theo he notices a painting that has a unusual mascaraed scene in it. Oliver was instantly drawn to it asking Theo questions of how he acquired the piece. Theo in response told him, I would like to tell you a story, mostly for my sake, to alleviate some of the burden. Theo's story started with how he came across the painting at an auction, & won the paintings auction. Immediately after a mysterious man appeared and wanted to purchase the painting for any price Theo named. He refused and the man told him he would regret it. After some time he had the painting at his home when one day the light hit it just right and a mysterious man appeared in the masquerade scene, being dragged to a boat on the canal by two men, with a distress look about him. He had never noticed before in the painting.

After a series of spooky happenings Oliver is contacted by a duchess who extended an invitation to her country home to talk to him about the painting. Wearily he arrived and met the duchess, who was probably well into her nineties. She wanted the painting and Theo knew it, but the story she told of the painting and the history of it was astounding and down right creepy.

I can not give anymore details or it will ruin the mystery but I can say it is well worth it to read this tale of the mysterious masquerade painting. If a picture is worth a thousand word, imagine how many words a painting is worth. I will be buying this one amazon has used copies for only three dollars.

"An extraordinary ghost story from a modern master. In the apartment of Oliver's old professor at Cambridge, there is a painting on the wall, a mysterious depiction of masked revelers at the Venice carnival. On this cold winter's night, the old professor has decided to reveal the painting's eerie secret. The dark art of the Venetian scene, instead of imitating life, has the power to entrap it. To stare into the painting is to play dangerously with the unseen demons it hides, and become the victim of its macabre beauty. By the renowned storyteller Susan Hill--whose first ghost story,
The Woman in Black, has run for eighteen years as a play in London's West End--here is a new take on a form that is fully classical and, in Hill's able hands, newly vital. The Man in the Picture is a haunting tale of loss, love, and the very basest fear of our beings."

1 comment:

  1. Sarah Coignard, Denver, COJune 11, 2009 at 2:25 PM

    Hi Lizzy, Your review of this book has made me want to read it, it sounds great, I really love a good thriller! Thanks for the suggestion :)


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