I have read Mantel's Beyond Black and thoroughly enjoyed it but Wolf Hall is such a doorstep of a book that I thought I would find it tedious.
For at least the first hundred pages it was a historical bio-epic of no especial literary merit. No way was it worth the Booker. I was interested by the character of Thomas Cromwell, depicted sympathetically rather than the black-garbed devil of historical propaganda. I was slightly annoyed by the first person narrative in the third person: Cromwell refers to himself as 'he' but it is written entirely from his point of view and you think his thoughts.
Then I began to seriously identify with his character. As Deputy to a larger than life Headteacher I have been the fixer, the manager, the creator of possibilities and sometimes the hitman, always surviving within and by the favour of my boss. And yesterday at a meeting I started thinking to myself: 'What would Cromwell do in this situation'.
I was also desperate to find out what happened to him and why the novel is named Wolf Hall.
When a character in a book grabs you so completely then you have to admit that somehow the novelist has become a magician and you are enchanted by her spells. And that is why it won the Booker Prize.
March 2012; 650 pages
- Having reviewed over 1200 books on this blog, I have now written two myself. Motherdarling is a story about a search for a missing Will which reveals long-hidden family secrets. The Kids of God is a thriller set in a dystopia ruled by fascist paramilitaries. Both are available as paperbacks and on Kindle through Amazon. I live in Canterbury, England. I lived for more than thirty years in Bedford. Having retired from teaching; I became a research student at the University of Bedfordshire researching into Liminality. I achieved my PhD in 2019. I am now properly retired. I love reading! I enjoy in particular fiction (mostly great and classic fiction although I also enjoy whodunnits), biography, history and smart thinking. Follow me on twitter: @daja57