Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Holiday Reading - Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall

For some reason I have an aversion to book prize winners. Perverse, isn't it? I mean there must be some good reason why the book won a prize... So, I knew Hilary Mantel had written an historical novel and that it had won the Man Booker Prize for fiction. Having impinged on some part of my consciousness, it then floated off the edge of my horizon. Then, one Saturday morning, just a fortnight after I had returned home from my emergency visit to hospital, I was having breakfast and idly browsing the Guardian Weekend supplement and I came across an article written by Hilary Mantel concerning a very traumatic stay in hospital. And I read, and went on reading, even though our hospital stays were so different-thankfully! It was the way she described pain. I knew it, and there was something about her truthfulness, lacking drama, that touched me. And so I ordered my copy of her prize winning book for when I went on holiday at the beginning of this year. This is an intelligently and most extraordinarily well-written account of the life of Thomas Cromwell and his role in Henry VIII divorce of Katherine of Aragon and marriage to Ann Boleyn... and much more. You will be hooked (or stitched) into this book. I shall quote you two snippets: She has been sewing - or rather, unsewing, teasing out the pomegranate border from the crewel-work panel - these remnants of Katherine, of her dusty Kingdom of Grenada, linger in England still. and: For the King's new year gift he has commisioned from Hans a miniature on vellum, which shows Solomon on his throne receiving Sheba. It is to be an allegory, he explains, of the king receiving the fruits of the church and the hommage of his people. Now I dare not read anything else by her in case I am disappointed - so if you have read any of her other books I would like to hear, please.

1 comment:

  1. I do agree with you about books given a grand prize, I too usually avoid them. Glad I'm not alone! Thanks you so much for bringing the sampler to my attention - it is tempting but I have stopped collecting - lack of wall space being one reason!