Chris Scott. Judged by that standard, The 'Mirror and The Light' is a … 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. Format: DVD Change. Two hundred, then. He looks, as Hilary Mantel has him say in her new novel, "like a murderer". Wolf Hall, the Seymour family seat, is a site of scandal in the novel, a place where men prey on women and the old on the young. If the king dies without a male heir, the country could be destroyed by civil war. Wolf Hall was exhilaratingly confident in rewriting its main character as a hero; each new piece of the identity he assembled for himself held its … And then something happened; I got use to Ms. Mantel's writing style, and my knowledge of history kicked in and I was swept up in the story. How do you write about Henry VIII without being camp or breathless or making him do something clunkily non-stereotypical? Diagnosed With Diabetes? At the same time, sinister grace notes accompany Cromwell's triumph. 4.0 out of 5 stars. You already know everything there is to know about the life and deeds of the 2 men and are interested in a beau. The thing to remember when starting this book is that 99% percent of the time the pronoun 'he' refers to Cromwell, even at times when the sentence structure makes it seems like 'he' would be someone else. For the first 100 pages I was like a Monkees song, you know the one -. Welcome back. It would be more about the environment. It's partly laziness, I suppose, and partly its close relative, impatience. hilary mantel is such a tease. 5 star 69% 4 star 13% 3 star 7% 2 star 7% 1 star 4% Wolf Hall [Import] by Mark Rylance. ‘Do you think it is for your personal beauty? What an amazing time! Sources: - Wolf Hall (2015) (screenshots taken from here since it saved me a load of time! 'Wolf Hall': Review. I keep you, Master Cromwell, because you are as cunning as a bag of serpents…..’’. If not a man for all seasons, the book's heroic accountant is surely the man for his season. For the first 50 pages or so I was irritated at the vague pronoun usages (mentioned in nearly every review I have read on Amazon) and the dizzying cast of characters. … Stylistically speaking, she is very distinctive. Plus, the writing style does not always make it obvious what person the story is being told in - or who is even speaking for pages. That wacky King Henry VIII and his six wives! Whatever he might feel or want must be subsumed in service to the throne. And what do you know, it's another piece of historical fiction set in England and written by a woman. And then something happened; I got use to Ms. Mantel's writing style, and my knowledge of history kicked in and I was swept up in the story. . Wolf Hall continues to hold viewers captive not only because of its gorgeous costumes and sumptuous period detailing, but the nuanced script that electrifies this … You see, The Children's Book by A.S. Byatt was nominated for the Booker in 2009, but did not win. I am a reader who thinks British history is fascinating, and I've long had a soft spot for the Tudors. And also, despite being a citizen of a Commonwealth nation with Her Royal Majesty's mug plastered all over my bills and coins, the Union Jack incorporated into my provincial flag, and a mom who dragged me out of bed at 4 a.m. to watch Lady Diana, Princess of Wales walk to her doom - err, groom - I am not, nor have I ever been, a monarchist. From personal view, 'Wolf Hall' is a very well-made series, the scenery, locations and interiors are incredibly lavish and the costumes are well-worn, true to period and lovingly tailored (didn't see any cheapness at all). Then there's the portrait of him, after Holbein: a dewlapped man in dark robes with a shrewd, unfriendly face, holding a folded paper like an upturned dagger. For all its structural and thematic importance, however, Cromwell's conflict with More is only part of a wider battle caused by Henry's desire to have his first marriage annulled. Everyone knows about the Tudors. It takes a minute to get use to the style and language, and previous knowledge of the characters and their relationships is a plus, and then it is a very enjoyable experience. It took me a short while to realize this, but once I did, I was fine. Like every good book, it will give you withdrawal symptoms after finishing it. A sequel is apparently in the works, and it's not the least of Mantel's achievements that the reader finishes this 650-page book wanting more. Wolf Hall languished on my “to be read” list for years. Start by marking “Wolf Hall” as Want to Read: Error rating book. Without clobbering the reader with the weight of her research, Mantel works up a 16th-century world in which only a joker would call for cherries in April or lettuce in December, and where hearing an unlicensed preacher is an illicit thrill on a par with risking syphilis. Into this impasse steps Thomas Cromwell: a wholly original man, a charmer and a bully, both idealist and opportunist, astute in reading people, and implacable in his ambition. Determined, controlled but occasionally impulsive, and a talented hater, Mantel's Anne Boleyn is a more formidable character even than her uncle the Duke of Norfolk, portrayed here as a scheming old warhorse who rattles a bit when he moves on account of all the relics and holy medals concealed about his person. I finally gave up at 209 pages. she calls her book, You don’t know much about Henry VIII except that he was an English king, had a lot of wives and changed the official Church of England so he could bang another woman? This being said, I have hidden plot spoilers, but I will not be held accountable for the “spoilers” of history. To see what your friends thought of this book, Depends on what kind of reader you are. 4.4 out of 5. This makes him an ideal emissary for Wolsey's project of liquidating some smaller monasteries to fund a school and an Oxford college. At this point, only 16 pages in, the action cuts to 1527, with Cromwell back in England, "a little over forty years old" and a trusted agent of Cardinal Wolsey. Fluent in many languages, learned, witty and thoughtful, he's also an intimidating physical presence; Wolsey fondly compares him to "one of those square-shaped fighting dogs that low men tow about on ropes". Hilary Mantel is the bestselling author of many novels including, “It is the absence of facts that frightens people: the gap you open, into which they pour their fears, fantasies, desires.”, “Some of these things are true and some of them lies. He lives to serve the king, and as a minister to the king he cannot indulge in such distracting luxuries as grief or rage or love or hate. But it would not be very much about the characters. Mantel attacks the problem from several angles, starting by knowing a lot about the period but not drawing attention to how strenuously she's imagining it. TV Review: Wolf Hall TV’s take on Hilary Mantel’s royal drama has provided a rarefied viewing experience: like having a bath in champagne. Have you ever been with a group of people when someone tells a joke and the rest of the group thinks it's hilarious but you just don't get it? Grieving, he thinks of Tyndale's banned English Bible: "now abideth faith, hope and love, even these three; but the greatest of these is love." The pope and most of Europe opposes him. Mantel's Cromwell is an omnicompetent figure, "at home in courtroom or waterfront, bishop's palace or inn yard. Study the market. I love historical fiction, especially from this time period, so I expected to really like this one. Already displaying toughness, intelligence and a gift for languages, he runs away to the continent as a boy of 15 or so (his date of birth isn't known, and in the novel he doesn't know it himself). This is a function of generations of storytelling and cultural indoctrination. His life-shaping experiences in France, Italy and the Netherlands are dealt with in flashback here and there: he has been a soldier, a trader and an accountant for a Florentine bank; he has killed a man and learned to appreciate Italian painting. Very few people lived their lives with an intention of being known as a villain of history. Been on my shelf for four years - should I read it?? First off, I find the whole notion of the monarchy - any monarchy - absurd. Well, here we all are, sheltering in place, buying canned beans, and generally trying to figure out how to stay inside and keep our minds busy.... England in the 1520s is a heartbeat from disaster. Law and financial administration - his main activities - don't always ignite writers' imaginations, and in the pop-Foucauldian worldview of much historical fiction since the 1980s, his bureaucratic innovations would be seen as inherently sinister. I don’t have much to add to the excellent reviews on here about the Booker Prize-winning first volume in Hilary Mantel’s Thomas Cromwell trilogy. The effortless-seeming management of contrasting registers plays a big part in the novel's success, as does Mantel's decision to let Cromwell have a sense of humour. Into this impasse steps Thomas Cromwell: a wholly original man, a charmer and a bully, both idealist and opportunist, astu. A successful marriage of elegant, sophisticated (although, at times, incredibly dense) writing and salacious historical details. But they are all good stories.”, Orange Prize Nominee for Fiction Shortlist (2010), James Tait Black Memorial Prize Nominee for Fiction (2009), Costa Book Award Nominee for Novel (2009), Magnesia Litera Nominee for Translation (Litera za překladovou knihu) (2011), National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction (2009), The Rooster -- The Morning News Tournament of Books (2010). Well, I can tell you, I read Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel because it won the Book Prize For Fiction in 2009. I was intrigued, so I picked it up from the bookstore, determined to see if it was really better than The Children's Book. I usually devour historical fiction, but this one has become tedious. Henry VIII wants to annul his marriage of twenty years and marry Anne Boleyn. I harbor the belief that the sheer bulk of so many of the books … Henry VIII wants to annul his marriage of twenty years and marry Anne Boleyn. “Wolf Hall,” the BBC adaptation of two Booker Prize-winning novels by Hilary Mantel, looked ominously like the same old, same old: a costume drama set in … More, he knows, thinks "love" is "a wicked mistranslation. The pope and most of Europe opposes him. Cromwell helps him break the opposition, but what will be the price of his triumph? Do you ever wonder about why people choose to read the books they do? Then Hillary Mantell’s novel might be exactly why you are looking for. There are too many Thomases and like. And if one is unfamiliar with the English history like I was, it can be quite co. This could be interesting! Yet I think all of us fall into the trap of thinking of the past in moralistic terms sometimes. You already know everything there is to know about the life and deeds of the 2 men and are interested in a beautiful, literary take on the subject? He's made repulsive even more by the self-adoring theatricality behind his modest exterior than by his interest in torturing heretics and contemptuous treatment of his wife. Well, let me tell you, IT ISN’T. You are in Cromwell's head; you see everything from his perspective. At times I was confused as to who was 'speaking' and couldn't follow it. Well, I can tell you, I read Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel because it won the Book Prize For Fiction in 2009. ‘Do I retain you for what is easy? Wolf Hall was that way for me. You heard of Thomas Cromwell but you don’t know exactly why he is so important? But Henry is volatile: one day tender, one day murderous. Wolf Hall › Customer reviews; Customer reviews. . [ In the end, we are left watching the bulldog tenacity (and loyalty) of Cromwell continue indefinitely into the future, as he sits at his desk at the height of his influence, little knowing what (we know) history has in store. He's a sideshow to Wolsey in Shakespeare and Fletcher's Henry VIII, a villain who hounds Thomas More to his death in Robert Bolt's A Man for All Seasons. With magnificently decorated and gilded settings and dramatic political turns in every episode, what we have here is House of Cards transported into the world of The Tudors (but with a lot less sex). In “Wolf Hall” it is More, the great imaginer of utopia, who is the ruthless tormenter of English Protestants, using the rack and the ax to set the “quaking world” aright. As he reacts to others' reactions of him (many times, he is bemused to see how he is thought of) another layer of characterization is added. England in the 1520s is a heartbeat from disaster. 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