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Black Sheep

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Published by Chatto & Windus, part of Vintage Publishing

Format: Hardback


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EAN: 9780701184216
Published: 24 Oct 2013


About the book


The village is called Mount of Zeal. It’s built in a bowl like an amphitheatre, with the winding gear where the stage would be. The pit lies below.

Ted Howker’s school is on the edge of Lower Terrace next to the chapel. Upper Terrace – in a thunderous echo of the Bible so loved by Ted’s grandfather – is Paradise. Ted and his father and his brothers live in Middle. In the beginning: a household of men, all of whom work in the pit...

Susan Hill is an exceptional writer at the height of her powers. Every word is precisely right: the descriptions of the village and the pit, the people and the farm are exact and true; the heartbreak is inevitable yet new; and the imagery and imagination take your breath away.

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What the critics say

Powerful… Poignant, bleak and haunting, this is a small masterpiece
- Sunday Mirror

Compulsively readable
- Irish Examiner

Hill deploys her not inconsiderable power to weave a haunting story
- Daily Mail

Beautifully, even lovingly, told
- Scotsman

There is something Hardyesque in the tragic momentum of this story
- Guardian

Gripping all the way to its unexpected end
- Spectator

A perfectly judged story of people living hard, narrow lives
- Observer

Hill's beautiful, soulful descriptions of pit village life make this every bit as gripping as her longer spine-chilling stories
- Sunday Mirror

In this taught, tense story, written with that unsparing economy which is such a feature of Hill's recent fiction, everyone longs to escape... Ted is thoughtful, compassionate, loving and misguidedly chivalrous... The sparseness of Hill's style provides the perfect medium for exploring his predicament
- East Anglian Daily Times

Hill's taut prose exudes a constant darkness... you are left unsettled and haunted by the seeming inevitability of their troubled lives
- Stylist

Taut, tense story, written with that unsparing economy which is such a feature of Hill's recent fiction
- The Times

The versatile Hill tells a perfectly judged story of people living hard, narrow lives
- Observer

So well-written, so deeply imagined, that the reader will find delight even in the encircling gloom. Love may not conquer all, but Art can
- Scotsman

[Hill] does what all good writers must set out to do: she made me read until I had the answer
- Guardian

Hill’s sparse style provides the perfect medium for exploring this family’s predicament
- The TImes

Hill does a wonderful job of evoking life in this enclosed community
- Independent

A masterpiece of economy and control
- Good Book Guide

About the Author

Susan Hill has been a professional writer for over fifty years. Her books have won awards and prizes including the Whitbread, the John Llewellyn Rhys and the Somerset Maugham; and have been shortlisted for the Booker. Her novels include Strange Meeting, I’m the King of the Castle and A Kind Man; and she has also published autobiographical works and collections of short stories. The play of her ghost story The Woman in Black has been running in London’s West End since 1988 and was awarded a CBE in the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Honours. She is married with two adult daughters and lives in North Norfolk.

Susan Hill

More about Susan Hill

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