A Change of Climate Paperback – 1 Jul 1997
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|Paperback, 1 Jul 1997||
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'Sandra Duncan's beautifully judged narration adds a further dimension' --The Oldie
'The best book she's written… She writes about punishing subjects so freshly it is as if they had never been written about before.' --The Observer
Hilary Mantel has created that rare thing, a page-turner with a profound moral dimension. --The Daily Telegraph --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Hilary Mantel is the bestselling author of many novels including "Wolf Hall," which won the Man Booker Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction. "Bring Up the Bodies," Book Two of the Thomas Cromwell Trilogy, was also awarded the Man Booker Prize and the Costa Book Award. She is also the author of "A Change of Climate," "A Place of Greater Safety," "Eight Months on Ghazzah Street," "An Experiment in Love," "The Giant, O'Brien," "Fludd," "Beyond Black," "Every Day Is Mother's Day," and "Vacant Possession." She has also written a memoir, "Giving Up the Ghost." Mantel was the winner of the Hawthornden Prize, and her reviews and essays have appeared in "The New York Times," "The New York Review of Books," and the "London Review of Books." She lives in England with her husband. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
People are shown to shy away from the damage cruelty causes to its victims, who endure their wounds mostly in silence. The response of religion, and the welfare state, is non-judgmental and non-emotional, a relentless and demanding support for those in recognised categories of need. "Good souls" help "sad cases". The difficulties and inadequacies of this approach are explored throughout the novel, climaxing in the arrival of the damaged Melanie. She is a child who was sent away for temporary fostering, only to find when she returned home that her personal possessions and clothes had been got rid of and her room used for other purposes - she had been excised from the family by her parents as if she had never existed. Ravaged by drugs, solvent abuse and suicide attempts, she is cared for by Ralph, Anna and Kit with their well-practised professional kindness, although they become increasingly and irritably aware of the futility of such an approach.Read more ›
Working as a lay person at a mission and vigorously opposing apartheid, Ralph and Anna, not surprisingly, run afoul of the authorities and are exposed to the savagery which creates a permanent and terrible climate in their marriage. They discover that such savagery is not limited to one race as they had previously supposed. As the story bounces from the present in England back twenty years to Africa, the reader lives through the vivid and terrible African experiences and simultaneously sees how these traumas have permeated the lives of these good, but often naïve, people. As Ralph's uncle James points out, "There is nothing so appallingly hard...as the business of being human."
As James grows and eventually embraces life, Anna remains emotionally closed, despite her good deeds, fearful that she "should lose everything, one of these days." As the events resolve themselves and the "competition in goodness" comes to an end, we see real humans trying to put aside the petrified past and to change the climate of their lives. With immense sympathy Mantel creates imperfect characters who try to lead good lives, with varying degrees of success. Mary Whipple
This is not a book like ‘Wolf Hall’ and those hoping for a repeat won’t find it here. What is here, as in all her books, is a quality of writing that is rare, a clarity that is beautifully crafted, a mastery of words, characterisation and situations that is skilful and subtle. Mantel is a brilliant storyteller.
Ralph and Anna Eldred raise their children in an atmosphere of doing good and charity, helping the ‘good souls and sad cases’ that come their way. But their good deeds hide a secret that is eating away at them and at their relationship; a secret tragedy from their time as missionaries in South Africa, a tragedy that threatens the stability, faith and peace that they have striven to provide for their children and for those other waifs and strays that they welcome into The Red House.
The tragedy (the nature of which is not revealed until fairly far on in the book) creates fissures between them that spread out though their family and friends. And when their son falls in love with local girl Sandra, Ralph also sees an opportunity for happiness, or at least for forgetting. However, his actions bring all the resentments, grief and sadness that has been hidden away to the surface and the family finds itself at crisis point.
The characters in this book are portrayed with huge sympathy - Mantel has a real knack of getting right under her characters’ skins. The everyday is drawn as skilfully as the unusual, with both Norfolk and South Africa coming to life - the claustrophobia of a dismal, drab rainy England as real as the oppressive heat of an African day.
Different to Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies, but just as wonderful.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I loved A Change of Climate. I found this book incredibly sad at times. My heart went out to Ralph and Anna and the terrible things they experienced in Africa. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Pamela Scott
Extremely satisfying, albeit at times highly uncomfortable reading. We are taken through the lives of two main characters (and other family members) which turn out to be anything... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Tony Anderson