Cathy's Reviews > A Place of Greater Safety

A Place of Greater Safety by Hilary Mantel
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's review
Apr 01, 2012

liked it

I confess. I abandoned this one ¾ of the way through, still kind of baffled -- a bit ashamed actually -- that I didn’t finish it. Another confession: reading this book was a trial. It is well written, accurate (as far as fiction ever is), and presents compelling portraits of very compelling men – Maximilien Robespierre, George-Jacques Danton (or, as I will always imagine him, Gerard Depardieu) and Camille Desmoulins. Having read and appreciated Wolf Hall, I am familiar with Hilary Mantel’s urbane-to-acerbic style; occasionally, I laughed out loud. So why stop? While I typically enjoy having one around, I did not expect likable characters, this being the French Revolution after all. There were none. I also didn’t expect the melodrama of Dickens. There wasn’t any. So. Given that I was prepared, why not just finish the damn book? It seemed to me that, around page 450 or so, these unlikable characters became detestable and, while I suspect that’s what Mantel was going for, I couldn’t stomach it. I have added Danton to my Netflix queue, since it’s been years since I’ve seen the film, and really, really intend to pull Simon Schama’s Citizens off the shelf for another read. Promise.

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