Man, I can't believe I waited so long to read these. I just started Bring up the Bodies. I'm trying to pinpoint exactly what makes them so amazing and I can't, really. I just never want to stop reading them.
― franny glass, Saturday, 30 March 2013 17:02 (six years ago) link
are you from England?
― nostormo, Saturday, 30 March 2013 17:07 (six years ago) link
― franny glass, Saturday, 30 March 2013 17:10 (six years ago) link
I'm just early in Wolf Hall, but really enjoying it. Supposedly I will read the whole thing in time for a book club discussion next weekend, we'll see. I had missed the Mantel-Duchess contretemps linked above, but it's pretty funny -- not surprising that the tabloids and Cameron entirely missed the point of the lecture, or that in "defending" Kate they pretty much illustrated what she was saying. Hillary Mantel seems like an interesting person.
― something of an astrological coup (tipsy mothra), Saturday, 30 March 2013 17:10 (six years ago) link
cause i'm not, and i thought that was the main reason i didn't care.
― nostormo, Saturday, 30 March 2013 17:11 (six years ago) link
I didn't know there was a thread for this! I love the shit out of these books.
Finally reading A Place of Greater Safety now and I love the shit out of it, too. Max OTM up thread about wanting her to write books about all areas of historical interest to me.
― carl agatha, Saturday, 30 March 2013 17:53 (six years ago) link
Also, totally reading APoGS while constantly consulting Wikipedia. I didn't have to do that with WH/Bring up the Bodies thanks to 15 + years of obsessive reading about Tudor England, but I don't know jack about the French Revolution, aside from what I've learned from a few tepid History Channel documentaries. Completely agree with lagO_on that this is a great way to learn history.
And I did not know about Dorothy Dunnett, so Niccolo Rising is on my list now, too.
― carl agatha, Saturday, 30 March 2013 18:01 (six years ago) link
old news now, nice
― goole, Thursday, 30 May 2013 18:51 (six years ago) link
i bought BUTB but i'm tearing through WH again first. still so good.
― goole, Thursday, 30 May 2013 18:52 (six years ago) link
stall about 200 pages into WH; picked up BUTB now it's in pb - need to restart WH and blitz through both
― cozen, Thursday, 30 May 2013 20:40 (six years ago) link
decent docu about Henry VII on BBC2 tonight, still yet to read Wolf Hall but this Tudor season is giving me the yen
― another sub-standard post from (Noodle Vague), Thursday, 30 May 2013 21:16 (six years ago) link
There was a decent one on BBC2 last week Henry VIIIs Enforcer: The Rise And Fall Of Thomas Cromwell, not sure exactly what day it was aired, got it off the t0rrents. Got Wolf Hall on the shelf and definitely starting it in the next week.
― Damo Suzuki's Parrot, Thursday, 30 May 2013 21:22 (six years ago) link
can somebody explain what this guy means by "the fucking Bullens"?
― goole, Monday, 3 June 2013 13:12 (six years ago) link
oh duh i just got it
― goole, Monday, 3 June 2013 13:13 (six years ago) link
i'm about 35 pages into BUTB and i'm getting a sinking feeling. i hope it gets over the throat-clearing recappy stuff and just keeps going full force.
it also has, i'm guessing, the marks of an editor trying to smooth things out. instead of the characteristic lone "he" which always meant Cromwell, the first several pages are littered with "he, Cromwell" which is really rubbing me the wrong way. she used pronouns so precisely before, idgi
― goole, Monday, 17 June 2013 21:09 (six years ago) link
Am I off the mark for thinking that Wolf Hall/BUTB is something that someone who likes ASOIAF's realpolitik machinations over the magical mumbo jumbo would dig?
― Lynyrd Cohen (Leee), Friday, 21 June 2013 05:09 (six years ago) link
you would be very on the mark
they're also books about a man who is above all trying to be modern and humane, despite whatever barbarism still exists around him, which also contrasts pretty strongly with martin (in the best way imo)
― discreet, Friday, 21 June 2013 05:56 (six years ago) link
yeah, read these and then read c v wedgwoods 30 years war
― max, Friday, 21 June 2013 10:39 (six years ago) link
This is probably an inaccurate and lazy thing to observe, but I've always had trouble with Mantel's writing style - specifically her over use of alliteration. I just find it difficult to make it through more than 3-4 pages without pedantic noticing some sentence-writing flaw.
On the other hand I've read evey Steig Larsson book so I guess mmmv.
― Chuck_Tatum, Friday, 21 June 2013 11:49 (six years ago) link
that seems nuts to me! i think she's got a great eye and a great ear. i can't even think of an alliterative line tbh.
also, that profile of her really opened some things up. her lifelong illness really makes the bodily nature of (political) life really resonate: how people get sick, what they eat, their aging, all that. also her experiences with ghosts; the constant mentions of the england's restless dead, its ghosts and myths lying in wait.
― goole, Friday, 21 June 2013 15:31 (six years ago) link
― max, Friday, 21 June 2013 15:36 (six years ago) link
i was wrong to worry about the 2nd book, it's really good.
― goole, Friday, 21 June 2013 15:38 (six years ago) link
is this in here? ny'er profiled her before in 2005, haven't read it
― goole, Friday, 21 June 2013 15:43 (six years ago) link
i don't have the books nearby so i'll have to trust my memory here but i think mantel has just about the best possible contemporary literary style -- deeply and carefully observant, casually intimate, an almost-inexhaustible sympathy for self-made individuals who easily overflow with pity for those around them. i'm not prepared to argue about alliterative details, but when writers lean too hard on that scheme it lingers for me like a kind of display, whereas Wolf Hall & BUTB feel more like time spent with an especially erudite acquaintance retelling some bit of history i learned by rote.
― discreet, Saturday, 22 June 2013 03:57 (six years ago) link
having said that, BUTB is the lesser of the two for me, by far, partly because the fall of anne boleyn is kind of terrible for all involved, and wolf hall has those early scenes where he watches his wife and daughters die of the sweating sickness, one by one.
― discreet, Saturday, 22 June 2013 04:03 (six years ago) link
...which are just... oy
― discreet, Saturday, 22 June 2013 04:04 (six years ago) link
Wolf Hall -- first ebook I've ever bought.
― Lynyrd Cohen (Leee), Saturday, 22 June 2013 06:47 (six years ago) link
Good choice. I read that before I had an ereader and I nearly threw out my back carrying around.
― carl agatha, Saturday, 22 June 2013 15:19 (six years ago) link
Yes. I can still remember the jolt I got reading "Grace died in his arms". The suddenness of that sentence was brutal.
― franny glass, Saturday, 22 June 2013 22:44 (six years ago) link
What breed of doggy does Cromwell own?
― Jack Lacan (Leee), Tuesday, 25 June 2013 06:28 (six years ago) link
Ok, how the deuce are they going to film this? So far, a major feature of the novel is the texture of Mantel's prose and its artful elisions, and a purely historical adaptation would be pretty hollow.
― Stately, plump Carey Mulleeegan (Leee), Wednesday, 3 July 2013 05:47 (six years ago) link
which would stop them from filming it how?
― j., Wednesday, 3 July 2013 05:51 (six years ago) link
Thanks, I'd forgotten my cynicism.
― Stately, plump Carey Mulleeegan (Leee), Wednesday, 3 July 2013 06:03 (six years ago) link
don't mention it
― j., Wednesday, 3 July 2013 06:15 (six years ago) link
"It's The Tudors with 'Tude"
― Gukbe, Wednesday, 3 July 2013 06:24 (six years ago) link
yeah i think to be true to the spirit of the books could be kind of risky! hewing to cromwell's experience so closely, being his partisan as mantel is, would probably mean dropping the a, b, c, d etc story structure --everything parceled out evenly, a little something for everybody -- of the newer cable dramas
― discreet, Wednesday, 3 July 2013 18:21 (six years ago) link
idk it'd just be very tiring for the lead actor, who's in every scene.
other than that, i felt mantel's style here was very conducive (even borrowing from) the to-the-pointness of contemporary TV. her dialogues even felt very HBO to me in some way.
you couldn't do any of her reveries though, which is a lot of the charm of the books. but that's true with any book with some lyricism i guess.
― goole, Wednesday, 3 July 2013 18:31 (six years ago) link
i spent a *lot* of time while reading place of greater safety thinking about how id treat it for tv
― max, Wednesday, 3 July 2013 18:34 (six years ago) link
these books are basically the sofia coppola marie antoinette of historical lit but done really well, they should just roll with it, chuck taylor hi tops in every scene, thomas more forced to choose between his bodily safety and his factory 12"s
― discreet, Wednesday, 3 July 2013 19:11 (six years ago) link
Amused so far how Henry is this capricious, quasi Old Testament deity that hovers concretely yet remains on the periphery and whom everyone wants to please, and that the only figure whom we've seen in the narrativeand who has actually interacted with Him is a religious authority.
― Louie Althusser (Leee), Saturday, 13 July 2013 06:41 (six years ago) link
Oops, spoke too soon, here's our king now.
― Louie Althusser (Leee), Saturday, 13 July 2013 06:47 (six years ago) link
Thank the heavens for Putney boatmen.
― May I Call You Jiggleee? (Leee), Wednesday, 7 August 2013 06:03 (six years ago) link
So I'm about 72% of the way through this (goddamn Kindles, this disgusts me) and wow! Most I've enjoyed a book for a good long while.
One of the things I'm enjoying most is how much Mantel leaves unsaid - both in terms of plot, where Cromwell's progression from vague sympathiser with the reformist cabal transitions pretty briskly into him and Cranmer as CHIEF reformers, as well as in Cromwell's own emotional perspective and understanding of events.
For instance, the process by which he draws inexorably further away from Wolsey during the Cardinal's fall, always reiterating in his own mind his (clearly unfeigned) affection and respect for his mentor, his certainty that he is only staying at court to be Wolsey's eyes and ears etc. Yet as Wolsey falls off the radar Cromwell continues to rise, and gains respect on all sides for how loyal he's been. No wonder he breaks down crying.
I'm a sucker for the way that ur hero, omnicompetent yet sympathetic progressive thinker, is also a kind of wonderful murderous street-fighting alpha male fantasy. Again, so much left unsaid - the occasion that More threatens TC in his own home, swiftly followed by More's demise as a major player. Or the time that Cromwell thinks to himself that if More, terrifying sadistic zealot Thomas More, goes near any of Cromwell's household, HE will drag More out into the street and smash his head in on the pavement - and you believe him. Total badman.
Have to say I'm quite glad that you can't get 'Hilary Mantel does....' for every different period, as I'm not sure I'd ever want to read anything else again.
― Third Rate Zoo Keepers With Tenth Rate Minds (Windsor Davies), Thursday, 15 August 2013 11:42 (six years ago) link
idk if the main character is a "total fantasy"
oh come on. he's like if james bond had a sensitive side. he's dirk pitt. he is AWESOME at EVERYTHING and is STRONG and SILENT. women want to be with him, men want to be him, etc
― TracerHandVEVO (Tracer Hand), Thursday, 15 August 2013 11:49 (six years ago) link
finally reading bring up the bodies--the extended bit w/ the joust where crumb reminisces about the portuguese knight he met in venice before rafe sadler breaks in and they rush to the king's side is AMAZING, what a sequence
― max, Thursday, 15 August 2013 11:49 (six years ago) link
Yeah I can't decide whether to go straight into BUTB when I finish Wolf Hall or to leave off for a month and treat myself to it in my time off next week. How does it compare to Wolf Hall in length?
― Third Rate Zoo Keepers With Tenth Rate Minds (Windsor Davies), Thursday, 15 August 2013 11:54 (six years ago) link
*next month, not next week
― Third Rate Zoo Keepers With Tenth Rate Minds (Windsor Davies), Thursday, 15 August 2013 11:55 (six years ago) link
shorter, maybe 2/3ds as long, the first bit is a lot of summarization of WH so if you go right from one to the next you might get impatient
― max, Thursday, 15 August 2013 12:06 (six years ago) link
― R'LIAH (goole), Thursday, 15 August 2013 15:45 (six years ago) link
on 2nd read my fave bit in WH was the long fever reverie when cromwell falls ill, and the big 'reward' after of henry coming to his house.
― R'LIAH (goole), Thursday, 15 August 2013 15:47 (six years ago) link