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Old 10-17-2012, 01:31 AM   #1
HarryT
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Hilary Mantel wins Man Booker Prize

Hilary Mantel has become the first British author to win the prestigious Man Booker prize for the second time, for her historical novel "Bring Up the Bodies", the sequel to "Wolf Hall", which won the same award in 2009. "Bring Up the Bodies" tells the story of the events leading up to the execution of Henry VIIII's second wife, Anne Boleyn.
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Old 10-17-2012, 10:17 AM   #2
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Good for her. I got about 100 pages into Wolf Hall before setting it aside. Wanted to like it. I recall being baffled by the excessive/ confusing use of personal pronouns, i.e. "he did this and he did that and he said this" - and it might have been referring to three different people without actually referring to them by name! Never read a book with that issue before or since.

I did find Wolf Hall fascinating in places though so maybe I'll give it another shot someday.
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Old 10-17-2012, 01:19 PM   #3
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Justly deserved - I loved Wolf Hall, but I think this volume is even better. I raced through it despite obviously knowing the ending. Knowing it is sitting there awaiting a more leisurely read makes me very happy!
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Old 10-17-2012, 04:20 PM   #4
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Both volumes were brilliant, can't wait for the third and last one.
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Old 10-17-2012, 06:32 PM   #5
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The New Yorker magazine published an interesting piece about her in the current issue. It was published on the WEB as well. I hadn't read anything she wrote before but I will. She is an interesting and complex person.

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2...ct_macfarquhar
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Old 10-17-2012, 06:45 PM   #6
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Reviews on Wolf Hall are kind of interesting. Either readers love the book or hate it. Not much in the middle. I do like historical fiction, so I'll probably give it a look.
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Old 10-18-2012, 12:37 AM   #7
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You should give it a try. If you do, keep in mind that when she uses "He", she means in 99% of all cases Cromwell. She writes brillantly BUT her use of the pronoum "He" can be confusing, at least in Wolf Hall. In Bring up the Bodies, she used "He, Cromwell" more often.
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Old 10-18-2012, 06:36 AM   #8
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Thank you,
I am going to give this one a try.
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Old 10-18-2012, 10:43 AM   #9
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Her earlier book about the French Revolution, 'A Place of Greater Safety' is well worth reading too. She really brings main protagonists like Danton and Robespierre to life.
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Old 10-18-2012, 06:39 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by aceflor View Post
You should give it a try.
Ok... You've convinced me Purchased "Wolf Hall" and I'll give it a try.
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Old 10-18-2012, 09:03 PM   #11
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Earlier today I purchased Wolf Hall too.
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Old 10-19-2012, 03:41 AM   #12
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Good for you ! Please tell me what you thought about it when you are finished, and btw, you should definitely begin with Wolf Hall first.
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Old 10-19-2012, 03:58 PM   #13
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In the middle of Bring up the Bodies at the moment - better than Wolf Hall I think once you've cracked the "he". I loved her earlier and less well known book Beyond Black. A great plot, brilliantly and amusingly written.

A very worthy winner on the Man Booker in my view.
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Old 10-20-2012, 09:28 AM   #14
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I disagree with the above and think the Man Booker was undeserved.

I loved Wolf Hall. The fleshing out of sketchy historical information into fully realized narrative and the exploration of Cromwell's rich interior life was a tour de force. Bring Up the Bodies, which I snapped up as soon as it was available, was a huge disappointment in comparison.

A few general comments and one spoilered one: The historical record of the Anne Boleyn period is much more detailed, so there was less scope for creativity, and it's been visited and revisited so many times that anyone with even a mild interest in Tudor England is already thoroughly familiar with the main events and players. Well, that couldn't be helped, but Mantel also slacked in her play with Cromwell's mental and emotional life. It's not exactly the Philippa Gregory treatment, but it's not up to her own standard.

One aspect that especially irritated me:

Spoiler:
Having as a major device and denouement that Wolsey's memory was avenged by the condemnation and execution of Anne's putative paramours was cheesy and overly dramatic.
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Old 10-20-2012, 10:36 AM   #15
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I did not like Wolf Hall, or at least I did not get all the praise. Aside from the needless pronoun obscurantism, I thought it gave too little. Despite all the time spent in his head, I did not see how Cromwell came to be the person he was. He seemed fully formed at the start; he was an enigma at the beginning, and an enigma at the end. Although we know he was the puppet masterin many ways, the way the external events are described it felt as if he were merely a witness of historical forces. You are told what happened, but left unsure how they came to be. I thought Mantel went too far correcting the popular perception. She made Cromwell too much of an enlightened man, More too much of a fundamentalist monster.

The prose is beautiful, and the way she applies modern style and speech to historical fiction is novel. But I thought the book was unsatisfying as both history and character study. I could've stopped reading anywhere after 100 pages and would have gotten about the same out of it. So I didn't bother with the second volume.
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