Hi­lary Man­tel Harper Collins

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - BOOKS - Jacq Ellem

THIS is his­tor­i­cal fic­tion for the se­ri­ous reader and a real treat for fans of Tu­dor times.

It’s not a light read. It needs time and at­ten­tion, and a small pas­sion for his­tory; or more specif­i­cally, the reign of Henry VIII and the story of Thomas Cromwell.

I know very lit­tle from this pe­riod and I found it a bit of a strug­gle to keep up with names and events.

It’s not a slowly paced story by any means; you just need to give it the time it de­serves. I couldn’t do it jus­tice by try­ing to read it on the bus, sand­wiched be­tween a stock­bro­ker and a loud- mouthed tourist. I needed a quiet cor­ner with no in­ter­rup­tions – and that in­cluded meals.

Some may find Man­tel’s use of “he” hard at first, but there’s a rhythm to it. “He” is Cromwell, brought alive, his ac­tions not nec­es­sar­ily jus­ti­fied, but ex­plained in a sense that aligns the people and the pur­pose.

It’s hard to de­scribe the un­der­stand­ing that comes with putting this book down. I may not pick up the sec­ond un­til I’ve had a bet­ter look at the his­tory books, but I’m damn glad I’ve done the first.

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