Tim's Reviews > Bring Up the Bodies

Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel
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it was amazing
bookshelves: historical-fiction, favorites, london

Of course if you loved Wolf Hall you’re going to love this too. It’s slightly different in tone and texture to Wolf Hall though. Less richly dense and intimate; quicker paced, covering as it does a much smaller time frame than Wolf Hall. I read somewhere Mantel heeded criticism of her excessive and confusing use of the pronoun he in Wolf Hall. And it’s true she is much clearer here, always referring to Cromwell by name whenever there might be confusion. What this does is remove some of the sympathetic intimacy we feel for Cromwell. In fact, you realise what a stroke of genius it was in Wolf Hall. For the first time there are moments when we see him as something of a calculating despot, we begin to have an inkling of why he was hated so much. We see the Michael Corleone in him. It’s fascinating that all the men eventually accused of sleeping with Ann are men against whom he has a long standing personal grudge. Men who were involved in Wolsey’s fall from grace. Cromwell becomes like Wolsey’s avenging angel, as if it’s been Wolsey all along he’s been working for and not the King. Reading between the lines you feel Mantel thinks these men were guilty but not guilty as charged. In other words, they all probably mocked the king while flirting with Ann but probably didn’t sleep with her. I’ve watched a few programmes asking the question whether or not Ann was guilty as charged. Those who are convinced she was innocent usually refer to her last will and testament in which she denied all charges. They say she would not lie, knowing she was about to die and about to meet her maker, that she would not risk an eternity in Hell by making a false statement. However Mantel states in the afterword that Ann’s testament didn’t survive and what we have is a fiction composed years later. Posing the likelihood that biographers, no less than novelists, take huge liberties with the truth.

I can’t wait for the third and final instalment of Cromwell’s story.
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Quotes Tim Liked

Hilary Mantel
“The things you think are the disasters in your life are not the disasters really. Almost anything can be turned around: out of every ditch, a path, if you can only see it.”
Hilary Mantel, Bring Up the Bodies

Hilary Mantel
“The word 'however' is like an imp coiled beneath your chair. It induces ink to form words you have not yet seen, and lines to march across the page and overshoot the margin. There are no endings. If you think so you are deceived as to their nature. They are all beginnings. Here is one.”
Hilary Mantel, Bring Up the Bodies

Hilary Mantel
“Truth can break the gates down, truth can howl in the street; unless truth is pleasing, personable and easy to like, she is condemned to stay whimpering at the back door.”
Hilary Mantel, Bring Up the Bodies

Hilary Mantel
“She is very plain. What does Henry see in her?'"
“He thinks she's stupid. He finds it restful.”
Hilary Mantel, Bring Up the Bodies

Hilary Mantel
“Anne's lovers are phantom gentlemen, flitting by night with adulterous intent. They come and go by night, unchallenged. They skim over the river like midges, flicker against the dark, their doublets sewn with diamonds. The moon sees them, peering from her hood of bone, and Thames water reflects them, glimmering like fish, like pearls.”
Hilary Mantel, Bring Up the Bodies

Hilary Mantel
“You know what it's like when a cart overturns in the street? Everybody you meet has witnessed it. They saw a man's leg sliced clean off. They saw a woman gasp her last. They saw the goods looted, thieves stealing from the back-end while the carter was crushed at the front. They heard a man roar out his last confession, while another whispered his last will and testament. And if all the people who say they were there had really been there, then the dregs of London would have drained to the one spot, the gaols emptied of thieves, the beds empty of whores, and all the lawyers standing on the shoulders of the butchers to get a better look.”
Hilary Mantel, Bring Up the Bodies

Hilary Mantel
“When Wyatt writes, his lines fledge feathers, and unfolding this plumage they dive below their meaning and skim above it. They tell us that the rules of power and the rules of war are the same, the art is to deceive; and you will deceive, and be deceived in your turn, whether you are an ambassador or a suitor. Now, if a man's subject is deception, you are deceived if you think you grasp his meaning. You close your hand as it flies away. A statute is written to entrap meaning, a poem to escape it.”
Hilary Mantel, Bring Up the Bodies

Hilary Mantel
“What is the nature of the border between truth and lies? It is permeable and blurred because it is planted thick with rumour, confabulation, misunderstandings and twisted tales. Truth can break the gates down, truth can howl in the street; unless truth is pleasing, personable and easy to like, she is condemned to stay whimpering at the back door.”
Hilary Mantel, Bring Up the Bodies

Hilary Mantel
“But chivalry’s day is over. One day soon moss will grow in the tilt yard. The days of the moneylender have arrived, and the days of the swaggering privateer; banker sits down with banker, and kings are their waiting boys.”
Hilary Mantel, Bring Up the Bodies


Reading Progress

March 8, 2016 – Started Reading
March 8, 2016 – Shelved
March 8, 2016 – Shelved as: historical-fiction
March 10, 2016 –
page 50
12.29%
March 17, 2016 – Shelved as: favorites
March 17, 2016 –
page 170
41.77%
March 20, 2016 –
page 230
56.51%
March 25, 2016 –
page 320
78.62%
March 27, 2016 – Finished Reading
April 12, 2016 – Shelved as: london

Comments Showing 1-4 of 4 (4 new)

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Annet Hi Tim, we read this one in the same time zone, I reviewed it yesterday, grand book, big five star.


message 2: by Tim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Tim Annet wrote: "Hi Tim, we read this one in the same time zone, I reviewed it yesterday, grand book, big five star."

Yep, I saw we were keeping pace, Annet. Off to read your review now.


message 3: by Jaidee (new) - added it

Jaidee Nicely done Tim. I hope to get to this instalment this year.


message 4: by Tim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Tim Jaidee wrote: "Nicely done Tim. I hope to get to this instalment this year."

Thanks Jaidee. There are so many brilliant reviews of this that I tried to be short and sweet. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did when you get round to it.


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