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Wolf Hall Paperback – 4 Mar 2010

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Product details

  • Paperback: 674 pages
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate (4 Mar. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007230206
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007230204
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 4.6 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2,230 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,263 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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Review

“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

"A fascinating read, so good I rationed myself. It is remarkable and very learned; the texture is marvellously rich, the feel of Tudor London and the growing household of a man on the rise marvellously authentic. Characters real and imagined spring to life, from the childish and petulant King to Thomas Wolsey's jester, and it captures the extrovert, confident, violent mood of the age wonderfully." C.J. Sansom

"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 superb novel, beautifully constructed, and an absolutely compelling read. Mantel has created a novel of Tudor times which persuades us that we are there, at that moment, hungry to know what happens next. It is the making of our English world, and who can fail to be stirred by it?” Helen Dunmore

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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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1,310 of 1,402 people found the following review helpful By Mr. P. Benson on 13 July 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My first book review, and I'm writing it because I'm annoyed. After reading much praise and noticing Mantel had won the booker prize I bought myself a Kindle version, but within a few pages I started becoming distracted by the structure of the writing.

I hesitate to challenge Mantel's grammar because I already know how well this book has been received, but from my point of view it's all over the place. I'm well aware that the rules of syntax can be broken for a number of good reasons, but if Mantel's approach is deliberate then it's completely lost on me.

The first problem is the use of the word 'he', at every opportunity, to refer to all of the three, four, or five people participating in the same scene. You're often left having to re-read every other sentence and to try and guess which person is speaking or being referred to. So determined to stick pronouns everywhere the author often puts one unnecessarily in front of a person's name "He, Cromwell, said..."

The second problem is the inconsistent format for denoting speech. Sometimes it has quotes around it, sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes you're reading something a character is thinking followed by what he's saying and then, even, what the narrator thinks about it, but without any syntactical indication of which is which.

Elsewhere there are multiple people speaking in the same paragraph, with and without quotes. Why?

Here's a good example of much of the above - all quotes and commas exactly as in the text:

'Yes, yes,' Cavendish says, 'we'll order up the barge.'
Good, he says, and the cardinal says, Putney? and he tries to laugh. He says, well, Thomas, you told Gascoigne, you did; there's something about that man I never have liked, and he says, why did you keep him them?
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679 of 728 people found the following review helpful By James on 28 Jan. 2013
Format: Paperback
She, the reviewer, thinks that she, Mantel, has written a novel which manages to be both stimulating and frustrating. She starts to ask herself `Why did she detract from the quality of her work by adopting such a silly writing style?' but then she remembers that she, Mantel, often doesn't put speech inside speech marks, and so she resolves not to do so for the rest of her review.

She, the reviewer, says, she has written a wonderfully plausible account of his, Cromwell's, thought processes. Which other novel does a better job of getting inside the mind of a major historical character, she asks herself. None that she can think of, she concludes. And she appreciates how wonderfully, through the medium of his thoughts, she has managed to illuminate life in Tudor London. She very much enjoys some of the rich humour in her descriptions of his dealings with people at all levels of society ranging from him, Henry, down to near-paupers. She also marvels at her wide-ranging research, which provides a wealth of historical detail and contains almost no errors. She says, almost, because she does detect a few minor mistakes, for example her description of his, Cromwell's, accusation that one of his, Norfolk's, ancestors helped to "disappear" the princes in the tower; which leads her to say, doesn't she, Mantel, realise that the use of "disappear" as a transitive verb only started in the late 20th century and was surely unknown in Tudor England? But she forgives her for such minor lapses: she says, they aren't important when set against all the good things in the book.

But then she thinks of a few things that perhaps are important blemishes.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Moonlit VINE VOICE on 8 Sept. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a book which demands attention. From the beginning it can be confusing. Someone is being beaten - the pronoun "he" is used excessively. To whom does it refer? With patience and time, this confusion passes and it becomes clear that when "he" is used it refers mainly to Thomas Cromwell for this is his story.

Most people will be familiar with the stories of Henry viii and his six wives and I must confess that when I saw that Hilary Mantel had added to the huge pile of literature on this subject I did wonder what she could add. We have been immersed in the stories especially it seems on film and tv: The Tudors; The Other Boleyn Girl; Anne of the Thousand Days; A Man for All Seasons for example. All different in their literary quality but all of them agreeing that Cromwell is a villain and Thomas More a saint. What Wolf Hall does is tell Cromwell's story in a fashion which is almost stream of consciousness but in effect is more accessible than that. The dialogue is brilliant. Take for example a scene where More is entertaining Cromwell in his house. More insists on speaking in Latin, a language his wife doesn't know. Eat up he exhorts them, "all except Alice who will burst out of her corset". This little scene shows us so much: the snobbishness of More, his contempt for his wife, the portliness of his wife.

The novel brings Cromwell to life. He is a fully rounded character dealt with sympathetically and with understanding but his faults are not brushed over.

I borrowed this book from the library when it was first released and gave up reading it almost immediately. The fault was mine. I didn't give it the attention it deserved; picking it up to read for a few minutes before going to sleep would never give justice to the style and substance of this book. Three years on, I bought it for my kindle and read it on holiday. A superb book which I was only happy to finish because I knew I had Bring Up the Bodies waiting for me.
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