The Woman in Black: Part 1, The Purchase

The Woman in Black was finally released this week. I was so excited about seeing it that I made opening night my birthday outing. I had first heard about the film in the summer, I think on an “early sneak peek” IMDb feature. As with most upcoming movies based on books, I ran out to buy the book and read it right away (this was in 2011, pre-bet… it was a simpler time…). It turns out that as prolific a writer Susan Hill is in her native England, little of her work is available on the shelves in Edmonton, and not once amongst them was The Woman in Black.

I considered ordering it online, but then changed my mind because Chris and I decided that we would be travelling to England in the fall. I was sure that I would be able to find a copy there.

On September 3, we planned to go to the Tower of London only to find that the tube line had been closed for renovations. Rather disappointed – I love me some Tower of London – we changed our plans and instead walked from Kensington High Street to Notting Hill, where there happen to be many bookshops.

My darling Christopher, who knows his lady all too well, suggested that we go into Waterstones to pet the books for a while before lunch.

Finding a new copy of The Picture of Dorian Gray was an instant lift to my spirits. I had lent out my hardcover gilded copy to someone in high school and never saw it again. Pressing the brand new Wilde to my chest, I remembered to take a look for The Woman in Black and found it right away.

Practically giddy, almost amusingly so, I skipped up to the desk to pay. The young woman working there smiled and asked me if I had found everything I was looking for.

“Yes,” I said, summarizing.

She scanned the Wilde and then picked up the Hill and paused.

“You know,” she said, “we just got a new edition of this in today. Maybe you want to take a look at it?”

I followed her to the front of the store where she handed me a solid black book. Front cover, back cover, spine, page edges, all black. I looked up at her, the moment glittering with kindred-spiritness for badass-looking books. So I swapped that one for my initial pick and paid my new, if brief, best friend.

In a much better mood, and therefore a much more tolerable lunch companion, I crossed the street with Chris to The Black Swan pub, where we spend a pleasant, idle hour, before taking an afternoon stroll around St. Paul’s, the Tate Modern, and The Globe Theatre, new books and new chess set in our arms.

Stay tuned for The Woman in Black: Part 2, The Book

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