Lisa's Reviews > Wolf Hall

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
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's review
Oct 26, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: historical-fiction, man-booker-prize-winner
Read from July 09 to 19, 2012

I am sure there are far more intelligent reviews than mine about this book already on this site. This book seems to divide people, as Man Booker Prize winners seem to. For some, it's too stylistic and too conscious of its own style. For others, it's a work of a genius.

For me, I err on the 'genius' side. I love this book. I read it and think, wow, and feel hopelessly outclassed as a writer. It's a good fit for me as a reader – regardless of the genre and plot, I adore books that succeed in using a more experimental style.

Don't get me wrong, though. Wolf Hall isn't that good. I'm sure that I don't know everything that's going on because Mantel's writing style tends to obscure its main character, Thomas Cromwell. Mantel rarely refers to Cromwell by name, which causes some confusion. Even at 500 pages in, I would start a new scene and not immediately know if he was involved.

I've read a couple of historical novels set in Tudor times, but none of them really impressed me like this. The writing is a class of its own. It's not a frothy chick-lit style historical novel. The characters are all complex, rounded people (compared to the paper-thin characters that made up The Other Boleyn Girl). I don't know what I'm driving at here, but I feel the need to wave this book around, shouting, "see, a book about the Tudors can still be good!"

I just really love this book.

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Quotes Lisa Liked

Hilary Mantel
“It is the absence of facts that frightens people: the gap you open, into which they pour their fears, fantasies, desires.”
Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall

Hilary Mantel
“Some of these things are true and some of them lies. But they are all good stories.”
Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall

Reading Progress

07/13/2012 page 65
10.0% "I'm enjoying the writing style, but I'm not getting into the book just yet. Probably need to have a "sit and read" session."
10/11/2016 marked as: read
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