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litlove

Those are such good comments on Mantel - and on what makes historical fiction work. I hardly ever read historical fiction, and then when I do, I remember that I love it! I must be one of the last people in the country to read Wolf Hall. Looking forward to it, though!

Arti

"what gives fiction its vitality is not the accurate detail but the animate one..." that makes a lot of sense. It's a novel we're reading, not a news article, or, a police report. I can understand how this can be extended to film adaptations of novels, that they need to create 'movie moments', since now, it's a visual medium and a totally different art form. Thanks for an interesting and helpful post.

craftygreenpoet

I actually really didn't like Wolf Hall, I found it totally overwritten

Barbara

I couldn't disagree more with what this writer says. I much prefer Peter Ackroyd's books to Hilary Mantel's and I certainly wouldn't call them 'worthy' in that putting down way. Try English Music, which shows a wonderful feeling for the past and takes you there.

Claire

I must come in and say I loved the first-person writing of Wolf Hall. It gave such immediacy to the story. I'm not a reader of historical fiction, I prefer my history to come in fact form. However, Hilary Mantel's writing overcame my prejudice. My copy of Bringing Up The Bodies has been ordered for months. As soon as it arrives, all other reading will be cast aside!

Erika

I read solidly through the first half or so of"Wolf Hall" but then did bog down--I still can't force myself back to it. WHY is it so long? I am an avid fan of Hilary Mantel's and this was a big disappointment. But I am looking forward to "bringing Up the Bodies' and maybe this will lead me back to the first volume.

Lindsay

Sitting on a beach in Cebu in the Philippines, I am reeling at the New Yorker comments about Ackroyd. Not novelistically intelligent? I am staggered, having read many of his novels with admiration and enjoyment - he is an extraordinarily wide ranging writer - histort, novels, non-fiction about London, literary biography and criticism - but also a wide ranging novelist, and am immensly ambitious one. Hawksmoor, Chatterton and The House of Doctor Dee are masterpieces.

I cannot comment on Mantel's writing, having been put off by hearing an excrutiating interview with her on radio, in which she was, I thought, pompous and vague at the same time, and seemed to that her novels had the same validity as real history. This maybe quite unjust, but I have read one or two crushing reviews (a small minority, I know)of her approach to history and am ill-inclined to make the experiment. I am with Barbara on this one! Perhaps you can convince me to ty Mantel?!

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