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A Dickens for our time

With her prodigious output and range, Susan Hill has been called a modern-day Charles Dickens. The strength of her latest novel supports that comparison

By Amanda Craig   February 2011

A Kind Man by Susan Hill (Chatto & Windus, £10.99)

Of all the contemporary novelists who are compared to Dickens, Susan Hill probably has the best claim. Her protean ability to turn her hand to almost every genre from literary fiction, short stories and plays to ghost, children’s and detective novels; her entrepreneurial flair in starting up a small publishing business; her energetic and occasionally exasperating blogging both on the Spectator website and on Facebook are reminiscent of Boz [Dickens’s pen-name]. So, too, is her preoccupation with innocence, violence, greed and the supernatural. Like Dickens, she was successful from an…

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