The books I have read (2) : Hilary Mantle, Woolf Hall

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If first familiarised myself  with Wolf Hall, through the television series of the same name, produced by  the BBC. It  was on TV when I was in Britain in 2014. I loved the series, which  also received very good reviews. This was probably due to the great talent of the actor Mark Rylance, the script written by Hilary Mantle, who had also promised a series that does not dilute the content of the  six hundred and fifty page brick. As for me, I enjoyed the series and, when I read the book that deals mainly with Thomas Cromwell (Mark Rylance) and his relationship with Henry VIII (Damian Lewis), I had in mind the brilliant personification that presented the actor. Early in the book, I thought it was a good thing to have first seen the series, because I did not know very well this period of English history and having seen the Series  allowed me to  better visualise the era. After a few hundred pages, however, I concluded once again, that the book was still, much better than the series. I’m usually not very attracted by the historical novels. Mantle’s great talent lies, however, in my opinion, it her  ability not only to recreate an era, but also to  bring  the reader into its psyche, and this is where Hilary Mantle excels. Through the vicissitudes of the blacksmith’s son, beaten by his father, who rose in the highest spheres of power of that time and played a role in one of the most important historical periods in the history of England she managed to imagine how people thought about death, illness, sex and power. It is therefore not surprising that it is the first (and only, I think) woman  to have won the Man Booker for this wonderful book (not easy to read in English, however) and its sequel.

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4 thoughts on “The books I have read (2) : Hilary Mantle, Woolf Hall”

  1. Yes, it is a brick of a book, but worth carrying around! Penelope Lively also won the Booker for Moon Tiger–and it was well worth the prize. It’s also quite a slim volume. Thanks for writing about this. One of my colleagues has been telling me I should read the other two in the series. Perhaps this winter…

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