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.
This story is beautifully written with details that bring the characters to life. This is why the story is so very sad - you really empathise with them and so their fate becomes really quite distressing. You need to feel strong to listen to this story.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Susan Hill is such a talented writer, and this story shows how versatile she is. The story is profoundly moving and I would love to read a sequel.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Such a sad story. I couldn't stop listening until the last word. The beautifully drawn characters were so real and I was in that pit village watching the harsh life and death and family love. I too wanted to fly to the hills, the clean skies, the sweet smelling life of the sheep, to escape the darkness of the pit.
Read calmly and simply, and so strongly.