Teresa's Reviews > Bring Up the Bodies

Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel
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it was amazing

I came to this sequel thinking it could not possibly stand up to the first installment. So, I was prepared to like this book, but not love it as much as I did Wolf Hall. But I was wrong: it does, and I did.

It's one of those works that I lingered over the last pages of, not wanting it to end: the prose is that good. And it installed itself into my psyche. After putting it down at night and as I fell asleep, words, phrases, sentences rolled through my head. (This has happened to me before, but this time it felt different.) And though when I awoke, I couldn't remember any of what I'd dreamed (if dreaming is what it was), I knew the procession of words was due to this book. I also figured this is how the brain of Mantel's Cromwell must work, never stopping, except he does remember all. And when you see the culmination of his remembering all, it is chilling.

Much of what I wrote in my review of Wolf Hall may be inserted here. Like the title of Wolf Hall, this title has a different meaning than you might think (unless you are exceptionally in-the-know). And as I also said about Wolf Hall, this is not your average, run-of-the-mill historical fiction: it is elevated.

As I neared the end, I was starting to become resigned to the fact that I wouldn't be as excited by any particular passage as I had been with the one I quoted in my review of Wolf Hall (and that perhaps I was spoiled by what was so fresh in "Wolf Hall") but then I arrived at the final page ...
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Reading Progress

June 2, 2012 – Shelved
June 3, 2012 –
0.0% "I read today that Mantel studied Law. Not sure that I knew that when I was reading "Wolf Hall," but it does help to explain how she was able to make real some of the many facets of Cromwell's brain."
Started Reading
June 7, 2012 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-29 of 29 (29 new)

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K.D. Absolutely After putting it down at night and as I fell asleep, words, phrases, sentences rolled through my head.

This happened to me already but I did not rate the book with a 5 because I had a nightmare. I think the book was that Murakami's short story collection :) About the spider or something.


Teresa K.D. wrote: "After putting it down at night and as I fell asleep, words, phrases, sentences rolled through my head.

This happened to me already but I did not rate the book with a 5 because I had a nightmare. I..."


! ;) I can see that happening with Murakami.


message 3: by Sue (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sue Excellent review as always, enticing me in. But I still have to read Wolf Hall.


message 4: by Fionnuala (new) - added it

Fionnuala It is a pity that Mantel's treatment of history has to be classified under historical fiction in the first place but your word 'elevated' is a good one, Teresa. I felt that Wolf Hall was a major achievement of writerly skill and I puzzled over how she did it for ages after finishing it. I wish I could discuss Bring Up the Bodies with you but I haven't yet read it. When I do...


Teresa Thanks, Sue. I do hope you get to read Wolf Hall one day.

I couldn't agree more, Fionnuala. As I said of "Wolf Hall" and it applies to this book as well, her work is just different from what we normally think of when we think of historical fiction.


James Murphy Wow. Wonderful review. A paean to prose. I like it.


message 7: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Terrific, Teresa! You never fail to please.


Cynthia Another great review Teresa. Thanks.

I'm not quite sure if this is the same thing but I've often had dreams that 'continue' a book that has caught my imagination. The next day when I pick it up again it takes a bit to sort through what's really been written versus what I've dreamed. lol The worst part is that I always remember my dreams. Kind of disorienting.


message 9: by Barbara (new)

Barbara ... but sweet, C!


Teresa Thanks so much, Murph, Barbara and Cynthia!

I've never quite had that happen to me, C. Sounds interesting though -- and maybe confusing too! In this instance, it was if Cromwell was still talking or thinking in my head, though I don't remember at all what he said or thought. :/


message 11: by Lisa (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lisa Yay, when Cynthia and Teresa love it, I know I'm going to love it too:)


Teresa Lisa wrote: "Yay, when Cynthia and Teresa love it, I know I'm going to love it too:)"

And all thanks to you, Lisa, that I read Wolf Hall and so then read this one. What wonderful reading experiences they both were!


message 13: by Mikki (new)

Mikki "It's one of those works that I lingered over the last pages of, not wanting it to end: the prose is that good. And it installed itself into my psyche. After putting it down at night and as I fell asleep, words, phrases, sentences rolled through my head."

It doesn't happen often, but I do know the feeling. Great review, Teresa.


Teresa Mikki wrote: "It doesn't happen often, but I do know the feeling. Great review, Teresa. "

I think the last time it happened to me was with the last Barnes novel, as that one too did get under my skin, as I remember writing in that review. But this was even more intense. Thanks, Mikki.


Cynthia Teresa wrote: "Thanks so much, Murph, Barbara and Cynthia!

I've never quite had that happen to me, C. Sounds interesting though -- and maybe confusing too! In this instance, it was if Cromwell was still talkin..."


Whoops! Did I say that with my outdoor voice? Sheesh.


Teresa Cynthia wrote: "Whoops! Did I say that with my outdoor voice? Sheesh."

I'm glad you did, C. I wouldn't even know where to start to tell you all the weird things I think and dream in my sleep.


message 17: by Fionnuala (new) - added it

Fionnuala Today's gr quote sounds perfect to describe your experience of reading this book, Teresa!


Teresa Fionnuala wrote: "Today's gr quote sounds perfect to describe your experience of reading this book, Teresa!"

It does, Fionnuala! Thanks for pointing it out to me.


message 19: by Sue (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sue Now that I'm just about finished with Wolf Hall, your review has even more meaning. I'm so looking forward to reading this. And thank you for your hint about "he".


Tajma After swearing that I'd wait for the softcover, I just broke down and ordered this. I have myself on Wolf Hall rations because I don't want it to end. I'm excited to read this one.


message 21: by Sue (last edited Jan 17, 2013 07:52PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sue I just looked at Amazon and the softcover comes out in May. I have so much else to read that I believe I can wait that long.

Enjoy Tajma!!!


Tajma I'm sure I won't read it before May, Sue. I haven't bought a book in months and this felt like an ok reason to fall off the wagon. LOL. I was doing so well! We should do a buddy read for this also. I'll wait for you. Can you believe I'm lugging this tome to Asia???


message 23: by Sue (last edited Jan 17, 2013 11:52PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sue Actually I can believe it Tajma. It's so good. I recommended it to a friend today/yesterday. I've actually been bad, buying some kindle and sale books and now I'm trying to sell and donate some of my books to make room and get rid of ones I either won't read at all or won't read again.

I think a buddy read in May would be great. I put it on my wishlist and I'll order it when it becomes available. I'm sure Amazon will remind me!!

Where in Asia are you going (you may have already told me but I forgot)?


Tajma Going to Tokyo and Singapore. I've been looking at pics of the hotel in Singapore and I'm going to have a grand time reading by the pool! I'm really looking forward to the trip.


message 25: by Taner (new)

Taner Teresa can you elaborate the meaning of the title “Bring up the bodies” please?


Diane Barnes Getting ready to start this one now. I hope I feel like you did on finishing, I loved Wolf Hall!


message 27: by Rozpol (new)

Rozpol its very interesting


message 28: by Jane (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jane Yes, it "installed itself in my psyche" too. Well put.


Jesse Slimak I throughly enjoyed Wolf Hall. I too was pleasantly surprising that I enjoyed Bring Up the Bodies even more. The label "historical fiction" doesn't do it justice. This is modern literature which just happens to come through the median of "historical fiction."


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