Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Wolf Hall - Hilary Mantel

  • A very good book and winner of the 2009 Man Booker Prize.
  • This is one of those books you can tell you are going to finish after reading the first couple of pages - the quality of writing stands out.
  • It tells the story of the rise of Thomas Cromwell  and his relationship with Henry VIII.  The background given on the times is gripping - the intrigues between different courtiers is contemporary.
  • A very good read indeed.
Wolf Hall succeeds on its own terms and then some, both as a non-frothy historical novel and as a display of Mantel's extraordinary talent. Lyrically yet cleanly and tightly written, solidly imagined yet filled with spooky resonances, and very funny at times, it's not like much else in contemporary British fiction.
Mantel knows how to build a picture from the parts available, with nothing extraneous and everything layered. Here is Katherine – “as wide as she is high, stitched into gowns so bristling with gemstones that they look as if they are designed less for beauty than to withstand blows from a sword?…

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