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Vacant Possession

Vacant Possession [Kindle Edition]

Hilary Mantel
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Product Description


"Savage and funny black humour at its best." --"Observer "(London)

"Hilary Mantel's wit is wonderfully and startlingly nasty." --"Sunday Times "(London)

"Filled with fiish glee . . . Lie back and laugh yourself silly: this is the best s-up for a long, long time." --"New Statesman"

Product Description

From the Man Booker Prize-winning author of ‘Wolf Hall’ and ‘Bring Up the Bodies’, a savagely funny tale that revisits the characters from the much-loved ‘Every Day is Mother’s Day’.

Muriel Axon is about to re-enter the lives of Colin Sidney, hapless husband, father and schoolmaster, and Isabel Field, failed social worker and practising neurotic.

It is ten years since her last tangle with them, but for Muriel this is not time enough. There are still scores to be settled, truths to be faced and rather a lot of vengeance to be wreaked.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1225 KB
  • Print Length: 254 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0805062718
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate (24 Jun 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S. r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0047DVIFC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #33,462 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More 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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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
By Eileen Shaw TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
First published in 1986, this novel continues the story of Muriel Axon from Mantel's debut novel, Every Day Is Mother's Day. If anything this is even more horrifying in terms of the events depicted. Like the earlier book, it is unremittingly bleak, black and scurrilously funny. Muriel is living in an institution for the insane, but is about to be released into the community. She is already learning how to fare more successfully on the outside, this time. Still illiterate, maladroit, cunning, and as mad as a bucket full of starved snakes, she is picking up expressions, mannerisms, new words and new abilities. She has a plan, the first part of which is fooling the luckless family that moved into the house she used to share with her mother into taking her on as their cleaning lady.

It's not necessary to have read Every Day Is Mother's Day, but to be honest, it would be useful. Muriel Axon is one of the creepiest, wickedest characters to have ever been created. To come upon her fully-fledged, so to speak, might be too much of a shock. You also need to know what happened to her mother - and her child. Hilary Mantel has here over-egged every pudding with a gleeful sense of - well, why the hell not? The result is pure evil. Mesmerising.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Muriel has returned 16 Mar 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
`Vacant Possession' is the sequel to `Every Day is Mother's Day' by Hilary Mantel.

`Vacant Possession' begins 10 years after the events at the Axon's house which ultimately led to Muriel being placed in Fulmers Moor in the Greyshott Ward as part of her rehabilitation to eventually return to society, which she does, but Muriel has changed, she can now mimicry (mimic) and is a mistress of disguise, one of Muriel's hidden traits is that she watches people and for ten years she has been watching everyone in Greyshott Ward.

Colin Sidney is now living in the Axon's old house, his sister Florence still lives next door, his wife, Sylvia has reinvented herself, she has become more confidence, more sociable. Isobel Field is now married and no longer a social worker, everyone is living their lives but unknown to them, Muriel is amongst them.

`Vacant Possession', I felt was the stronger of the two books, you find out more about Muriel and also how devious (and scary) she is, with `Vacant Possession', you find out the lengths which Muriel will go to, to get her revenge.

An interesting read.
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41 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, riveting and entertaining 26 Nov 2006
I have read this book over and over. Its bleak, horrific and oh so funny. Muriel is a disturbing character, self-preserving and understandably vicious, but the comedy shines through, making the novel unforgettable. I never undertand why Hilary Mantel is not more acclaimed as an author - she is needle-sharp.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Just discovered 8 Jan 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Why had I not discovered Hilary Mantel before "Wolf Hall"? A fabulous writer: smart, literate and funny. Am thoroughly enjoying discovering her backlist.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars re-reader 20 April 2010
I agree with the other reviewer who says she re-reads this novel. I cannot quite believe that I started to read it again immediately I had finished it ... it's THAT good.

I don't agree with the reviewer who says you'll laugh yourself silly, though. To me, it's not a LOL type book ... but what you WILL do is feel impressed and entertained by Mantel's amazing ability to get inside family life and greater social issues at the same time.

Her prose is fabulous. There is at least one jewel of observation and impeccable expression on every single page, and one of my reasons for re-reading was to absorb their subtlety again once I had the "narrative and character" in my head.

Another reason for immediate re-reading was to enjoy the weaving of (multiple) characters and plots that Mantel has constructed here. On the one hand it is absurdly inter-woven, but on the other hand it works and adds to the comedic effect of the whole. These poor souls' lives intersect in a range of contexts and offer a fascinating range of perspectives on British society.

I would strongly recommend reading Every Day is Mother's Day before you read this, just to increase your enjoyment of this novel, though I am sure it would stand alone, it's better when you know what happened ten year's earlier.

In both novels Mantel casts a penetrating eye on the horrors of Thatcher's Britain and our social "care" programmes in Britain but with a delicate, never didactic touch. A real treat!
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2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed with the condition 14 Dec 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The story is excellent. The condition of the book poor even for a used copy. Half the pages were swollen, had obviously been wet. Many pages were grubby. I don't feel able to pass it on to a friend.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent service 2 Dec 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
First time I have bought used book, so was wary about what might turn up. Perfectly readable, no notes in the book, and if you don't mind the ex library look - plastic cover, slightly off white pages - then you will be pleased.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Human Nature
I am a big fan of Hilary Mantel - I first discovered her with 'A Place of Greater Safety' which over the years I must have re-read several times. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Warren Feagins
4.0 out of 5 stars Bleak satire
I saw this book as a satire on the Welfare State. Mantel is merciless in her depiction of social workers,GPs, hospitals,teachers,people who work in DSS offices,people who live on... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Pappashanga
3.0 out of 5 stars A good read
I enjoyed reading this book but hadn't realised when I bought it that it is a sequel. I hadn't read the first book (I think it's called Every Day is Mother's Day) but having said... Read more
Published 17 months ago by sarah
5.0 out of 5 stars These sorts of things happen
Have read this one several times and prefer it to 'Every Day is Mother's Day'. Works as a stand-alone but let's face it, if Hilary Mantel's written it, then I'm reading it. Read more
Published 22 months ago by AL
3.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't quite hit the spot
Colin and Isabel had an affair 10 years before this novel begins, ending after a tragic encounter with one of Isabel's clients (she being a social worker). Read more
Published 22 months ago by neverendings
1.0 out of 5 stars not the best
Couldn't get on with this at all and as for the alleged 'humour', where was that? Definitely not the best and very glib ending. 2nd hand book anyone?
Published on 13 Nov 2011 by plain jane
5.0 out of 5 stars another cracking read
Just recently showed it to a friend nd she is waiting to read it after me. What style this woman has-I laugh out loud reading it at night. Read more
Published on 29 April 2010 by Ms. Joanne Lancaster
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