Author Topic: Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel  (Read 594 times)

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Offline cats22

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Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
« on: March 19, 2011, 10:48:43 AM »
Having tried and failed with \"A Place of Greater Safety\" by Hilary Mantel I decided not to buy the book Wolf Hall (at first anyway) but to go for the unabridged reading by Simon Slater.

Mantel takes the listener right into the court of Henry VIII through the eyes of Thomas Cromwell.  She makes him a fascinating man, easily the cleverest one around and imagines his less public side.  It\'s not a straight historical novel as she goes off into fascinating diversions and flashbacks.  It is occasionally rather dream-like with nothing explained and parts of Cromwell\'s life only hinted at where she is speculating.  I found him compelling and didn\'t want it to end, long though it is, and have listened to all 24 plus hours of it three times so far and enjoyed it more each time, long as it was.

It is also the book that has made me think more than any other about how history judges people by the few facts that are known about them or the bits of their story that are passed down, which are driven to some extent by the politics of the tellers.  The Cromwell I had heard of was almost a pantomime villain, probably the impression I got from \"A Man for All Seasons\" and seeing the ruins of abbeys that \"Cromwell knocked about a bit\".  This book gives an alternative view, which may not be true, who knows, but was fascinating and truly involving for me.

The only problem with just listening to it, especially the first time, is that you don\'t get the list of characters so it is sometimes hard to remember what the relationships are.  There are also a lot of men called Thomas.  That didn\'t bother me after a while as I let the prose wash over me but it may bother others.

Simon Slater was a new reader to me and his voice and style are just right for this book.  He gave Cromwell a dry wit and conveyed the power and charm of a man who doesn\'t need to threaten because he is innately powerful.

Offline Lady Penelope

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Re: Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2011, 07:56:08 PM »
cats22 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
.
>
> Mantel takes the listener right into the court of
> Henry VIII through the eyes of Thomas Cromwell.
> She makes him a fascinating man, easily the
> cleverest one around and imagines his less public
> side.  It\'s not a straight historical novel as she
> goes off into fascinating diversions and
> flashbacks.  It is occasionally rather dream-like
> with nothing explained and parts of Cromwell\'s
> life only hinted at where she is speculating.  I
> found him compelling and didn\'t want it to end,
> long though it is, and have listened to all 24
> plus hours of it three times so far and enjoyed it
> more each time, long as it was.

Well that sounds like a good recommendation, Cats.    I dont often read Historical Novels these days (I had a period when I read little else, and sort of overdid it and got tired of them, but occasionally read one for a change.
>
> It is also the book that has made me think more
> than any other about how history judges people by
> the few facts that are known about them or the
> bits of their story that are passed down, which
> are driven to some extent by the politics of the
> tellers.

Interesting point.   Its very true that for characters of the past we are largely dependant on possibly prejudiced accounts. Certainly it is well know that Shakespeare manipulated history to suit the Royalty of his day.    In future they will be able to refer to blogs and twitters to get  peoples own accounts of themselves!   Will they get a truer or even worse knowledge.



 The Cromwell I had heard of was almost a
> pantomime villain, probably the impression I got
> from \"A Man for All Seasons\" and seeing the ruins
> of abbeys that \"Cromwell knocked about a bit\".
> This book gives an alternative view, which may not
> be true, who knows, but was fascinating and truly
> involving for me.

Gosh, its so long since I saw \"A Man for All Seasons\" (A wonderful film) I have fogotten it!  But I have since read books that suggest Thomas Moore wasnt as saintly as that makes himout!


>
> The only problem with just listening to it,
> especially the first time, is that you don\'t get
> the list of characters so it is sometimes hard to
> remember what the relationships are.  There are
> also a lot of men called Thomas.  That didn\'t
> bother me after a while as I let the prose wash
> over me but it may bother others.

That is one of my main objections to abridgements and dramatisations, I lose track of the characters.   I dont find it so often in full length readings maybe because they are usually introduced in the course of the book.  Also when listenining to my own CDs  (and even more cassettes) it is easier to back track and check than on the radio, even with Listen Again.   It is also the reason that when I have time, I prefer reading myself.
>

Offline Lady Penelope

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Re: Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2011, 08:12:47 PM »
A good example of how different writers portray historical characters.   \"Richard of Bordeau\" by Gordon Daviot is about the same king as Shakespeare\'s  \"Richard II\" but one would never have guessed from the plays.

Offline cats22

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Re: Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2011, 08:38:41 PM »
I don\'t know the play but I believe Gordon Daviot and Josephine Tey were one and the same person.  Isn\'t Tey\'s The Daughter of Time also about Richard II?

Offline tepeethetroll

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Re: Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2011, 08:56:51 PM »
Isn\'t Tey\'s The Daughter of Time also about Richard II?

Yep, and good it is too. And it also does a hatchet job on Thomas Moore along the way!

Haven\'t read Wolf Hall, but my wife has and its sitting on the bookshelf behind me. Better give it a go.
I\'m NOT paranoid......thats just what THEY want you to think!!!

Offline Lady Penelope

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Re: Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2011, 09:24:09 PM »
Well according to my memory (and Google) Daughter of Time is about Richard III!


Actually I was under the same misapprehension as Cats that Gordon Daviot was Josephine Tey but (again according to Google)* he or rather she was Elizabeth McIntosh.



* I tend to check my memory on these points as there are a couple of people (no names no packdrill, who lurk waiting for me to drop a clanger)

Everyone confuses the Richards - the second was \"My Kingdom for a Horse\".  The third the (alleged according to Josephine Tey) murderer of the princes in the tower.

Daughter of Time is on the R7 menu of dramatisations, and since I cant find the book, and I have already spent this seasons budget on audio books, I hope it comes round again soon.

Offline cats22

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Re: Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2011, 09:55:28 PM »
Ah I never was very good at the kings.

My copy of Miss Pym Disposes by Josephine Tey is copyright Elizabeth Mackintosh so at least there is evidence of that.  If you can trust the internet (yes I know) Tey and Daviot were both names she used.

Yes, she does a hatchet job on Thomas More and it has to be said so does Mantel.

Offline tepeethetroll

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Re: Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2011, 10:00:23 PM »
Your right of course Pen......I misread the post.......sorry#-o
I\'m NOT paranoid......thats just what THEY want you to think!!!

Offline tepeethetroll

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Re: Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2011, 10:09:42 PM »
Actually Dickie three was the \"Kingdom for a Horse\" fella as well.........Half a crown each way?
I\'m NOT paranoid......thats just what THEY want you to think!!!

Offline Janaru

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Re: Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2011, 07:17:35 AM »
That was one of the reasons I loved TDoT so much, was that it gave a great example for the argument of Churchill\'s famous quote: \"History is written by the victors\".

It really got me interested in Richard III. So much so that I found the The Richard III Society website. And also found out about the mock trial with the three-judge panel, chaired by the Honorable William H. Rehnquist, Chief Justice of the United States, that found King Richard III not guilty of the murders. (You can listen to audio of the trial Here if you\'re interested.)

Guilty or innocent? Very interesting subject. I love history mysteries :)
Note to self:  Use your powers for good, not for evil.....