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Wolf Hall  : Winner of the Man Booker Prize 2009 - Hilary Mantel

Wolf Hall

Winner of the Man Booker Prize 2009

Paperback

Published: 4th March 2010
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Winner of the 2009 Man Booker Prize.

Go backstage during the most dramatic period in English history: the reign of Henry VIII.

England, the 1520s. Henry VIII is on the throne, but has no heir. Cardinal Wolsey is his chief advisor, charged with securing the divorce the pope refuses to grant. Into this atmosphere of distrust and need comes Thomas Cromwell, first as Wolsey's clerk, and later his successor.

Cromwell is a wholly original man: the son of a brutal blacksmith, a political genius, a briber, a charmer, a bully, a man with a delicate and deadly expertise in manipulating people and events. Ruthless in pursuit of his own interests, he is as ambitious in his wider politics as he is for himself. His reforming agenda is carried out in the grip of a self-interested parliament and a king who fluctuates between romantic passions and murderous rages.

From one of our finest living writers, Wolf Hall is that very rare thing: a truly great English novel, one that explores the intersection of individual psychology and wider politics. With a vast array of characters, and richly overflowing with incident, it peels back history to show us Tudor England as a half-made society, moulding itself with great passion, suffering and courage.

About The Author

Hilary Mantel was born in Derbyshire. She was educated at a convent and later studied law. After ten years abroad in Africa and the Middle East, she returned to Britain in 1985 to make a career as a writer. She is working on her ninth novel.

REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

by PowerReviews
Wolf Hall
 
3.0

(based on 5 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (1)

40%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Interesting characters (3)

Cons

  • Difficult to follow (3)
  • Limited appeal (3)

Best Uses

  • Older readers (3)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Bookworm (4)

Reviewed by 5 customers

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5.0

The terrible times of the Tudors!

By Anna

from South Australia

About Me Bookworm

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • A Tour De Force
  • Captures Time And Place
  • Educational
  • Interesting Characters
  • Well Written

Cons

  • Limited Appeal

Best Uses

  • Gift
  • Older Readers

Comments about Wolf Hall:

I had read this before and found the second reading equally enthralling. Tudor England can be compared to Stalinist Russia in its spy forces and fear of informers and reprisals.

Comment on this review

(0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
4.0

Enjoying this read

By DrummerDiz

from Hobart, AU

About Me Bookworm

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Captures Time And Place
  • Interesting Characters
  • Well Written

Cons

  • Limited Appeal

Best Uses

  • Older Readers
  • Travel Reading

Comments about Wolf Hall:

I'm about halfway through this book and am enjoying it - well-written and with just enough detail on surroundings and costume to allow the reader's imagination to furnish the rest.

However - I wouldn't recommend the book to anyone who isn't already reasonably familiar with accurate Tudor history, as there isn't much explanation of events leading to the time when the book is set.

Comment on this review

(0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
2.0

Irritating use of the narrative present

By Constant reader

from Adelaide Australia

About Me Bookworm

Pros

  • Educational
  • Interesting Characters
  • Wealth Of Period Knowledg

Cons

  • Difficult To Follow
  • Hard To Know Which Charac
  • Poorly Written

Best Uses

  • Reference

Comments about Wolf Hall:

It was full of interesting insights into the period and the real-life historical characters. As previously noted, the use of the present-tense narrative made it heavy going, and I had to constantly refer to previous paragraphs to understand just which character was speaking.

Comment on this review

(1 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

 
3.0

Very disappointed with this book

By Ros

from ACT

About Me Bookworm

Verified Buyer

Pros

    Cons

    • Difficult To Follow
    • Limited Appeal
    • Too Wordy
    • Unnecessary Detail

    Best Uses

    • Older Readers

    Comments about Wolf Hall:

    The above comments said it all

    Comment on this review

    (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

     
    1.0

    Difficult to follow

    By Liz

    from Sydney

    About Me Everyday Reader

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

      Cons

      • Difficult To Follow

      Best Uses

        Comments about Wolf Hall:

        I found Wolf Hall difficult as I couldn't follow who was talking, or to whom the content related a great deal of the time. Hence I gave up as there are so many other wonderful books to get through. As a consequence I haven't yet read "Bringing up the Bodies". I am also a fan of Phillipa Gregory who writes in a more fluid way.

        Comment on this review

        Displaying reviews 1-5

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        'This is a beautiful and profoundly human book, a dark mirror held up to our own world. And the fact that its conclusion takes place after the curtain has fallen only proves that Hilary Mantel is one of our bravest as well as our most brilliant writers.' Olivia Laing, Observer 'As soon as I opened the book I was gripped. I read it almost non-stop. When I did have to put it down, I was full of regret that the story was over, a regret I still feel. This is a wonderful and intelligently imagined retelling of a familiar tale from an unfamiliar angle.' The Times 'Mantel is a writer who sees the skull beneath the skin, the worm in the bud, the child abuse in the suburbs and the rat in the mattress...Turning her attention to Tudor England, she makes that world at once so concrete you can smell the rain-drenched wool cloaks...This is a splendidly ambitious book...I wait greedily for the sequel, but "Wolf Hall" is already a feast.' Daily Telegraph 'A compelling and humane investigation of the cost of ambition.' Guardian 'Mantel's ability to pick out vivid scenes from sources and give them life within her fiction is quite exceptional...Vividly alive.' London Review of Books 'A stunning book. It breaks free of what the novel has become nowadays. I can't think of anything since "Middlemarch" which so convincingly builds a world.' Diana Athill

        ISBN: 9780007230204
        ISBN-10: 0007230206
        Audience: Tertiary; University or College
        Format: Paperback
        Language: English
        Number Of Pages: 400
        Published: 4th March 2010
        Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
        Dimensions (cm): 19.6 x 11.9  x 4.9
        Weight (kg): 0.47