Guardian Book Club: Hilary Mantel

I didn’t get a chance to look at Saturday’s Guardian until this morning (Monday) because I was busy reading Hilary Mantel’s Bring Up The Bodies. If like me you’ve been reading Mantel’s books then you’ll probably be interested in reading this article. In it she tells how she came to write the novels which would win the Booker – twice.

In it she also explains how she decided to call Cromwell ‘he’ throughout Wolf Hall and says that ‘Most readers caught on quickly. Those who didn’t complained.’

All authors see their books as their babies and can be a wee bit silly about any negative aspects of them. There were definitely a few clunky passages in Wolf Hall which were full of he said – the he not always being Cromwell of course. I didn’t complain, but did think that a bit of editing was needed to tidy some passages up.

6 thoughts on “Guardian Book Club: Hilary Mantel

  1. I’m one of the dummies who didn’t get who ‘he’ was in Wolf Hall. The book was long and I don’t like wondering what’s going on in books I’m reading and there are lots of books I want to read before I turn out that final reading lamp, so I quit reading it and went on to another book that didn’t puzzle me with basic questions like ‘who’s talking or thinking here?’. Seems if she (the author) was trying to make a point by calling Cromwell ‘he’ throughout the book, she might have let us in on the affectation early on. Or capitalized it as a royal ‘He’. i’m getting old and cranky and impatient!

    • Joan Kyler,
      I know exactly what you mean. I was annoyed because I had to go back and re-read bits of it, it was so confusing at times. I hardly ever give up on books, though I might gnash my teeth all the way through! BTW, I’m really enjoying High Rising.

  2. It seems a bit heavy-handed on Mantel’s part to use the device without making it clear up front to the reader.

    The more I read about this book, the less I want to read the book itself.

    Thanks for linking to the article, Kat.

    • Debbie,
      I did quite enjoy both books but I was surprised that they won the Booker, mind you I haven’t read any of the other books which were nominated. I haven’t read anything else by Mantel, I wonder what her other books are like – but not enough to go and read any of them. As Joan says – there are lots of books I want to read, and I have plenty of them at home, I really shouldn’t go to the library at all!

    • Jo,
      The only thing to be afraid of is the size of Wolf Hall. I don’t know whether to recommend a week of porridge for breakfast or a week of weights at a gym to strengthen your arms!

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