The Man in the Picture

The Man in the Picture by Susan Hill
The Man in the Picture by Susan Hill

The Man in the Picture
By Susan Hill
Overlook Hardcover, 2008
144 pages
Author website

What led you to pick up this book?

When Andi mentioned picking this up from the library, I just knew I had to read it.  I loved Hill’s book The Woman in Black and it sounded as if it were in the same vein.

Describe the book without giving anything away.

Oliver has come to his alma mater for a visit with his old professor.  As they sit around the fire talking late one night, the old professor, at one time an art collector, decides to tell his young friend the secrets of one of his more eerie paintings.  A dark Venetian scene of a carnival, strangely beautiful and sinister, possesses the power to entrap the lives of any who dare stare to long into it’s depths.  It’s hand has touched many; will it now touch Oliver and his loved ones as well?

What did you like most about the book?

I find it amazing what Hill can do with such few words.  In less than 150 pages, she creates a world where love, betrayal, and loss come into stark focus.  The story, with shades of Dorian Gray, was fantastic, as were the characters. 

Is there anything you didn’t like about the book or topic?

As with most wonderful stories, it ended all too soon.

What did you think of the characters?

I thought they were wonderful.  They came alive; all their hopes and ambitions, fears and desires.  Even the characters who only appeared for a couple of pages were made into complicated and fully realized. 

In general

This is a fantastic little story.  Well crafted, each word chosen with care.  Reminds me of Wilkie Collins, Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Dickens… but maybe don’t read it late at night.


Definitely.  To any one who likes to get a little spooked every now-and-then.  It would have been perfect for RIP III.

Also reviewed by:

One Minute Book Reviews | Overlook Press |

If you have reviewed this book and would like me to link to it, just let me know in the comments.

8 thoughts on “The Man in the Picture

  1. Oooh, I'll have to add this one to my wishlist although I don't think I can wait until the next RIP challenge to read it! Loved The Woman in Black so glad to hear the chills continue in her other books.

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