say I understood all of Wolf Hall but
I did want to finish it and found myself sad when the end arrived. Whether I'll
be up for reading the continuation Ms Mantel is currently working on is yet to
be decided but there's no denying the quality of her writing. Here at newbooks
Towers, I caused some ripples when I commented that I thought it a far superior
book to, say, Sarah Waters' The Little Stranger.
Alison maintains that book marks a sea change in Ms Waters' work and that
she is proving herself to be in the very front rank of our literary novelists.
We shall see but Hilary Mantel is most definitely there already.
quibble with Wolf Hall, though, is the persistent use of He/he for the lead character, Thomas
Cromwell. With extensive and convoluted dialogue to absorb I lost count of the number of
times I had to go back over a half page to make sense of who was saying what.
willingly acknowledge that I am a bear of little brain but a more generous use
of his surname (or forename – even though there are several Thomas’s in the
story) would have made it easier AND more enjoyable to read. Suffice to say, I
know of several dedicated readers who have started but failed to complete the
book – and that can’t be good for an
In the interview included at the back of the book - and who can complain at nearly 700 pages of erudition for £8.99 - the author says of her decision to write in the present tense that 'it was a way for [her] to capture the soundtrack inside Cromwell's head'. I can't help wondering - if she'd also written it in the first person whether the experience would have been further heightened - and made clearer to the reader?