Giving Up the Ghost : A Memoir
From the double Man Booker Prize-winning author of ‘Wolf Hall’, a wry, shocking and beautiful memoir of childhood, ghosts, hauntings, illness and family.
At no. 58 the top of my head comes to the outermost curve of my great-aunt, Annie Connor. Her shape is like the full moon, her smile is beaming; the outer rim of her is covered by her pinny, woven with tiny flowers. It is...more
HILARY THE ILLERY
I heard Hilary being interviewed and was grabbed by her weird life, not the usual middle-class sinuous blandishments at all. For a double-Booker winner she’s a walking Disease-of-the-Week movie.
Hilary Mantel has been several different women in her unusual life – young and old, poor and rich, working class and middle class, rejected and vastly successful, really thin and very fat. And she was once well but from the age of 27 she’s been ill. Her disease baffled the doctors (back ...more
This book is largely a childhood memoir. As you can imagine Hilary was a bright and precocious child, she amuses herself with tales of King Arthur and the Knights of the round table and desires the life of the knight errant but alas at the age of four she is disappointed to find that she d ...more
I liked this book best as Mantel worked through her childhood and early teen years. There's a l ...more
And it's good.
It's also the only Hilary Mantel I've read, though I'm aware of her stature as a historical novelist, and I've listened to her on the radio and read articles by her in newspapers.
This memoir is personal. Very. The early pages are slightly fragment ...more
If people ask my advice about writing I say, don't show your work before you're ready. They understand this, and are glad to be given permission to be cautious. I should add, don't do your work before you're ready. Just because you have an idea for a story doesn't mean you're ready to write i ...more
However, Giving Up the Ghost is so much more than a window into the life of au ...more
What I learned? A memoir is a totally different beast from an autobiography. At least it is in Ms. Mantel's hands.
I swear that I read at least a third of the book, wandering from memory to memory, wondering just what was the plan? Where am "I" going? But I kept reading because her writing was so compelling and so wonderful to read.
And then the memories began to jell and I was hooked. I couldn't put it down and, at the same time, wanted to slow down and savor each page.
What a lif ...more
"'When I was young,' I said diffidently, 'I used to think that dog was a cow.' I was hoping to prompt the reply, 'Well, actually, secretly, it is,' but the reply I got was, 'Don’t be silly.'"
"She didn’t understand their genteel nursey euphemisms, and when they handed her a flask and asked her to pass water she came across to ask if I knew what the fuck they were talking about."
"When the professor had examined me at Outpatients, a week or two ea ...more
I've just attempted to read her opening piece, 'Meeting the Devil' in a 2013 anthology of memoir from the London Review of Books which takes its title from Mantel's contribution. In it, she writes in bloody, excruciating and horrifying detail abo ...more
I can't believe she remembers so much (especially when so much of it feels so banal!), but I give her credit for admitting at the opening that writing a memoir is hard and she feels like she was a bit adrift in much of it. As a reader, I felt that way too.
I enjoyed getting to know more of her life story, and there were certain bits that informed how I have read some of her novels, but on the whole I didn' ...more
It is interesting particularly as it was written before Wolf Hall and her subsequent successes. There is a sense that something wonderful is about to happen to Hilary and her success is so well-deserved.
This is what I recommend to people who ask me how to get published. Trust your reader, stop spoon-feeding your reader, stop patronizing your reader, give your reader credit for being as smart as you at least, and stop being so bloody beguiling: you in the back row, will you turn off that charm! Plain words on plain paper. Remember what Orwell say...more
The sections about her childhood are wonderful, amusing and insightful and fascinating and shocking. Then she moves to her adulthood, and her medical issues that led to her childlessness. Her matter-of-fact explanation of her struggles to get doctors to take her seriousl ...more