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Wolf Hall Paperback – Sep 26 2009

3.7 out of 5 stars 63 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 672 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers; 1st Edition edition (Sept. 26 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 155468773X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1554687732
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 4.4 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 703 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars 63 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #102,760 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

Review

"A magnificent achievement: the scale of its vision and the fine stitching of its detail; the teeming canvas of characters; the style with its clipped but powerful immediacy; the wit, the poetry and the nuance." --Sarah Dunant

"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

`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

About the Author

HILARY MANTEL is the author of thirteen books, including A Place of Greater Safety, Beyond Black and the memoir Giving Up the Ghost. Her two most recent novels, Wolf Hall and its sequel Bring up the Bodies, have both been awarded the Man Booker Prize—an unprecedented achievement.


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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Author Hilary Mantel gives the reader a new take on that oft told tale of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn by showing it through the eyes of Thomas Cromwell, who despite humble beginnings was able to raise himself very high while aiding Henry VIII to rid himself of Katherine of Aragon in "The King's Great Matter", as well as his involvement in the Reformation and destruction of the monasteries and abbeys (to his own great gain). I think most of us have read enough about Henry and his six wives and know the basics, as well as enough reviewers have come before me so I don't need to rehash it all again. I'm just here to give my two cents on the book.

While I did enjoy a fresh take on this period, seeing it through the eyes of Cromwell, as well as seeing him interact with his wife, children and other family members, I did find the present tense very distracting and I had a difficult time getting started. Frankly, I picked up (and finished) four different books in between periods working on this one - although one covering the same period helped me a great deal as it served as a *refresher course* on who and what Cromwell was.

I found I couldn't read it during the work week at the end of the day when my brain was tired as well as on weekends when it was getting too close to bedtime - I put it down and read something lighter. That said, by the time I hit page 150 or so I was enjoying it a great deal and eventually I wasn't bothered the present tense at all, nor the excessive use of referring to Cromwell as "he" (it will drive you nuts at first).

I've seen this book described as a "rich meaty stew" and that's pretty much how I approached it, I took it in small bites over several weeks instead of gorging myself all at once and getting heartburn (reader burnout).
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A really great read. Not always historically accurate, but any changes were done for plot purposes (and the plot was great so I guess I'll forgive her). The language can be a little dry at time, but don't let that stop you!
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Format: Paperback
Wolf Hall is, quite simply, a literary tour de force. Although much has been written about the momentous political and religious upheavals that marked Henry VIII's tumultuous reign, Hilary Mantel manages to deliver a refreshingly original version of these events as seen through the eyes of Thomas Cromwell, Henry's most trusted advisor and confidant. Cromwell's background as a man of humble origins who has carved out a stellar reputation as a lawyer, businessman, diplomat and political strategist makes him an ideal choice to spearhead Henry's bitter power struggle against the Church. While the historical terrain may be quite familiar, what really sets this book apart is Martel's superb attention to detail and a remarkably intimate present tense narration that draws the reader right into the story. Admitedly, this intimacy can sometimes lead to confusion, especially since Martel consistently identifies Cromwell simply as "he," even when the antecedent would seem to suggest that a different character is being referred to. On the whole, however, this technique is highly effective. We are made to experience events just as Cromwell himself does and are privy to his innermost thoughts and opinions. This, in turn, helps us to better understand the complex political climate in which these events are played out. It also gives us an opportunity to explore not only the public persona but also the private life of this enigmatic historical figure. What emerges is not the conventional portrait of Cromwell as an intellectual bully but that of a multi-faceted, charismatic man, full of personal ambition yet sympathetic to the plights of others. In Martel's skillful hands, Cromwell is transformed from a one-dimensional political animal into a highly believable flesh and blood character who is more a humanist than a villain.
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Format: Paperback
I loved this novel, it was brilliant, intelligent, witty, sad, funny, utterly captivating: really created the world of Tudor England, King Henry's court, his courtiers and mostly gave a terrific portrayal and story to Cromwell. You cannot help rooting for him with his staggering intelligence, vast experience and his kindness towards those less fortunate while he ensnares those high-born wastrels with priveledged positions into his debt.
Nevertheless, if you are not passing familiar with the facts of Henry's 'Great Matter' and the players involved, then this novel will be very confusing because there is little offered in the way of explanations of who is who and what they are after. If you watch 'The Tudors' or have read any of the histories of Henry's wives, then you will love this fictional account of history through the eyes and mind of Thomas Cromwell.
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Format: Paperback
Although historical fiction is one of the most popular and prevalent genres available to us today, it is rare that we find a book that goes beyond retelling familiar stories to actually making the past come alive. We are all familiar with the story of the famous Tudor monarch who's multiple marriages are a staple of book and film, but Wolf Hall make the alien universe of 16th century England come alive to us. I found, reading this book that I could smell, hear and experience a long lost world. Mantel dares to re-imagine the roles, experiences, and stories that we thought we knew and I found her version compelling. This book is not to be compared to popular historical fiction, it is serious reading based on tremendous research and it well repays the effort made to read it.
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