The Beacon (novel)

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The Beacon
First edition
Author Susan Hill
Cover artist Getty Images
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Publisher Chatto and Windus
Publication date
02 Oct 2008
Media type Print & ebook
Pages 160
ISBN 0-7011-8340-3

The Beacon, is a novel by English author Susan Hill, first published in 2008 by Chatto and Windus and in paperback the following year by Vintage Books.[1]

Plot introduction[edit]

The four Prime children grow up in a bleak North Country farmhouse called 'The Beacon'; Colin and Berenice marry locally, May, the central character of the novel went to university in London but returns within a year. Only quiet, watchful Frank escapes to become a journalist on Fleet Street. But then he publishes a successful novel about his childhood which throws the family into turmoil...


  • Joanna Briscoe in The Guardian described it as a "novel of great structural and stylistic control" and as being "an almost perfect little literary novel outside any genre. A cross-generational family story barely longer than a novella, it possesses the light tug of menace and almost invisible haze of tension that characterise Hill's ghost stories, yet there is nothing supernatural about this tale of a farming family grounded in the seasons. The slippery nature of memory is what casts an atmosphere of unease over the novel".[2]
  • Laura Thompson in The Telegraph writes "this short book is richly satisfying. Hill's craftsmanship is masterly. We are always aware of the farming backdrop: the book begins with a superb evocation of rural hardship, whose inexorable rhythms read like pared-down Thomas Hardy." and goes on to describe it as "a little masterpiece".[3]
  • The Times said it was "a moving, evocative and rewarding novel".[4]

Radio Dramatisation[edit]

The novel was dramatised for BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour Drama, broadcast in five 15-minute episodes from March 22–26, 2010.[5]

Publication history[edit]



External links[edit]