·Karen·'s Reviews > Bring Up the Bodies

Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel
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really liked it
bookshelves: mttbr-2013, brits, history

What sorcery is this?

Cromwell plays good cop, bad cop. Surprisingly, he's the good cop.

The King wants rid of Anne, so Cromwell finds men who are guilty, just not necessarily guilty as charged.

That's about it really.

Some professional reviewers have called this 'tauter' than part one, which must be review speak, like saying a house is "conveniently placed for access to the city centre", which means smack on the main thoroughfare with juggernauts hurtling past your windows. Taut = no subplots. Straight. There are also far fewer people, especially women. No, Harry hasn't killed them all off (yet), 'twas the sickness that took Cromwell's wife and two daughters. I wonder (she muses) - is there any way of knowing if women were more likely to get infectious diseases back in the early 16th century? I mean I know childbirth was a killer, but I have this theory that if women were kept at home more, didn't have as much contact as the men who were riding around in all weathers and meeting lots of people, then their immune system wouldn't have been up to much.
Anyways: no Wolsey, no women. No-one to make Cromwell look better than the traditional image we have of him. But still a wondrous marvel. Mantel is a sorceress. Bring up part three!
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Reading Progress

June 10, 2012 – Shelved
August 3, 2013 – Started Reading
August 4, 2013 –
page 72
17.52% "Time travelling in my sun lounger."
August 8, 2013 –
page 100
24.33% "Time travelling in my sun lounger."
August 11, 2013 –
page 157
38.2% "End of Katherine, end of part one."
August 12, 2013 –
page 178
43.31% ""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.""
August 13, 2013 –
page 342
August 15, 2013 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-11 of 11 (11 new)

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Cynthia Another wonderful review Karen. Can't wait for her next installment though I still haven't read the first yet :(. I'm slowly getting through 'the plantagenets' which is a behemouth about English kingship (though I think it stops shrot of willy and kate). It's nice to read about it systematically sicne mostly I've pieced things together prior to this.

·Karen· Thanks Cyn, good to hear from you. It's been a while(?)
I love oyur typos: shrot (Schrott) in German means rubbish, scrap. Tee hee.

message 3: by Teresa (last edited Aug 17, 2013 11:40AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Teresa No-one to make Cromwell look better than the traditional image we have of him.

Do you mean worse?

Bring up part three!


I see you liked the 1st one a star better than this one. I think I did too, though I gave them both 5.

·Karen· No, I think I mean better. Our image of Cromwell is dastardly, ruthless, unscrupulous schemer, is it not? And in Wolf Hall, he came across as much nicer: partly because in comparison with Cranmer, he treated his wife much better, he was, generally quite nice to the ladies. And in this one he was the ruthless schemer, even if he played good cop to Riche. It seemed to me that there were no foils to him, no contrast, like Cranmer who made him appear the better man.

I missed the richness of all the subplotting and all the family stuff in WH. It was richer. Although here the police style interviews with the chosen victims were amazing.

Teresa ·Karen· wrote: "No, I think I mean better. Our image of Cromwell is dastardly, ruthless, unscrupulous schemer, is it not? And in Wolf Hall, he came across as much nicer: partly because in comparison with Cranmer, ..."

Ah, yes of course, thanks for the explanation.

message 6: by Riku (new) - added it

Riku Sayuj fewer women. that must make it that much worse. eek. (http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...)

message 7: by Fionnuala (new) - added it

Fionnuala I missed this, Karen, even though I had been curious about what your reaction to it would be. Yes, this book covered a much shorter time period, just one long and bloody hunting season, and, yes, the domestic scenes and the richness of the Wolsley/Cromwell relationship were conspicuous by their absence, and the absence of any similar scenes, but I admired Bring up the Bodies enormously for the skill with which Mantel dramatized this crucial episode in Cromwell's career. As you say he played the good cop but the ultimate sorcery was that he was really the nightmare cop.
Did you notice too that Mantel seemed to have been influenced here by the criticisms of Wolf Hall, especially the one about her use of 'he'. In this book, she adds his name more frequently. I was disappointed to see she had given in to the pressure as the way she handled the 'he' was one of the things I admired most about Wolf Hall. It was such a clever device to keep the reader on her toes and more importantly, to subtly turn a third person narrative into a first person narrative. Sorcery in deed.

Elena Yes, I like the manipulation of the narrative voice..not through yet, not used to Brit Lit...

Mike Warble Cromwell is a "go with the flow" cop. The underlying aspects of "good" and "evil"are just various lenses for survival.

message 10: by Lyn (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lyn Elliott I'm not surprised she appears to be stuck on Volume 3. In a way I wouldn't be surprised if she can't finish it; it can't be good for her mental health to be so engaged in the mind of Cromwell for all these years.

·Karen· Yes, Lyn, and I had a bit of a hunt round the internet. I think she got waylaid by work on the play and the TV series.

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