It is a great story though. The writing is often brilliant, with the dialogue lively and apt in revealing the characters, but I came away with a hollow feeling with respect to emotional engagement. Hilary Mantel's Bring Up the Bodies follows the dramatic trial of the queen and her suitors for adultery and treason. However, again Bring up the bodies is sublime and of course tells the dark tale of the fall of Anne Boleyn, fascinating. Almost anything can be turned around: out of every ditch, a path, if you can only see it. Bring Up the Bodies tells of her downfall, at the hands of Thomas Cromwell, in a I created you, I can destroy you fashion, after Anne fails to give Henry a male heir. A few days later, the executioner steps up to fulfil his task and heads roll.
I do not think this is good writing. Executing guilty men—guilty of something , even if not exactly of what they have been charged—will not bring the dead back. Another great read from Mantel about my favorite era-- the wonderful Tudors. This book just sailed on from Wolf Hall. Cromwell is astute enough to realize that his newfound friends will just as quickly desert him when it suits them. To defeat the Boleyns, Cromwell must ally himself with his enemies. Good writing is that which is easy to read.
And though when I awoke, I couldn't remember any of what I'd dreamed if dreaming is what it was , I knew the procession of words was due to this book. I wonder she muses - is there any way of knowing if women were more likely to get infectious diseases back in the early 16th century? The inner workings at the various royal courts and Cromwell's now multiple homes are intense and exciting. She is defiantly not an author who spells it all out for the reader; indeed, one can never be quite certain which lines the characters speak are lies and which are true particularly when it comes to Henry. I am still to read the last year's other Booker finalists but this book is one of the best among my recent reads. But the follow-up is equally sublime.
I thought this was a seminal moment, and moving — the spider caught in his own web; having constructed this mirage of half-truths and circumstantial interpretations, Cromwell can no longer cut to the truth like he used to, and finds his certainty obscured by the miasma he himself has created in the new climate in England. No, it's Mantel's ability to take us right inside the corridors and rooms, and up and down the staircases, of the royal Tudor court. And as with the great mimetic historians of the 19th century, by corralling this kind of vivid detail, Mantel encourages us to be in two times at once. In laying this out, Hilary Mantel also offers us a look at how the reins of power can be abused by the unscrupulous, and Thomas Cromwell is shown in his full unscrupulousness in this volume. I can never help trembling just a little when Anne is beheaded, and wondering, as we all must, what her state of mind must have been to go from queen to discard so quickly.
Still, I'm excited for the third book. I would give this a solid 4. He has written many successful translations and adaptations, including Ibsen's Rosmersholm, Schiller's Don Carlos, Luise Miller, and Wallenstein, Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales, and Malory's Morte D'Arthur, among others. Mantel presents her as almost asexual, which is fascinating, I've never seen it in a historical novel! All is alive, silvery, alert, rapid with insight. I hesitate to use the term 'genius' but. Even though we appreciate the real history Cromwell has helped to make, the drama of this book is driven by the certainty that this calculating, manipulative man cannot be sure of all outcomes.
In a few occasions there were entire pages of irrelevant non-action and seemingly intentionally confusing writing, like when 'Liz Cromwell' seems to be flying years I don't know what Mantel thought was wrong with Cromwell's name that she had to substitute it with a 'he' every time she refers to him. I seem to have an unlimited capacity for viewing the Anne Boleyn story from different points of view. Where I got the book: my local library. Having never heard of him - and with little knowledge of the Tudor era - I wasn't at all sure what to expect from Wolf Hall. While Wolf Hall focused on the rise of Anne Boleyn and how she became Queen of England, Bring Up the Bodies is about how the King decides to leave Anne when she can't give him a son, and her subsequent downfall and execution. This section contains 232 words approx.
For centuries Cromwell had been dismissed as just 4. Even if you know the history, you'll find yourself racing through these pages to find out what happens next. Again, Mantel manages to shift form, change structure and reinvent her style. This book brings back many bodies. He finally talks his way into an admission of guilt and has been sent to the scaffold.
Consider this: while Hall spanned decades, Bodies takes place in a scant nine month period. Amy Boesky is Associate Professor of English at Boston College. My one reservation is also a backhanded compliment. Now this is where the ratings system gets all screwy. Thomas Cromwell has now entered my list of characters in books that I have fallen in love with will check now if such a list exists on Goodreads.