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Archer Book Club: October 2023

Welcome to the Archer Book Club, or the ABC!

Selection Of The Month

Celebrating the 40th anniversary of the classic ghost story!


From the publisher: "Arthur Kipps, a junior solicitor, is summoned to attend the funeral of Mrs Alice Drablow, the sole inhabitant of Eel Marsh House. The house stands at the end of a causeway, wreathed in fog and mystery, but it is not until he glimpses a wasted young woman, dressed all in black, at the funeral, that a creeping sense of unease begins to take hold, a feeling deepened by the reluctance of the locals to talk of the woman in black - and her terrible purpose."

Discussion Points

Discussion points will be similar to the following (from the publisher):

"1. The novel opens with a detailed description of happy family life and builds to a ghastly climax. How does the author create the continual suspense to bring things to their terrifying conclusion?

2. The novel’s narrator, Arthur Kipps, seems a straightforward character and surprisingly level-headed through the extraordinary drama of the novel. Do you as a reader trust the narrator more because of this? How does this calmness contribute to the effect of the more chilling and supernatural events later in the book?

3. The description of the woman in black is a gradual unveiling throughout the novel. How effective is this style of description? How do details, such as the cloak or hints of disease, contribute to our growing impression of her?

4. The author has chosen a woman as the central ghost figure -- how is the concept of gender handled in the novel?

5. The story is set very firmly in Victorian times, with clear descriptions of daily life at that time. How does the historical setting add to the horror? Would a ‘modern’ version of The Woman in Black be as frightening?

6. The Woman in Black is a modern ghost story not only in the strength of its writing, but also in its use of the conventions in this genre of writing. How does the author use these conventions to effect, and how does the novel compare to other ghost stories, not only in books but in film as well?"

Zoom Meeting Information

Zoom information will be provided closer to the planned meeting: 12:00pm-1:00pm, October 25th, 2023.

Further Reading And Materials

2012 film version of The Woman In Black is available through our database Criterion On Demand.