In­ter­na­tional fic­tion

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Books -

HILARY Mantel’s Booker Prize-win­ners Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bod­ies are so ab­sorb­ing that it doesn’t mat­ter if you are ly­ing on a beach or re­clin­ing in a ski lodge: you will im­me­di­ately be plunged into the mud and blood and love and lust of the court of Henry VIII, and the mind of his re­mark­able (in Mantel’s hands) ad­viser Thomas Cromwell. If you’ve been wait­ing to read th­ese su­perbly writ­ten page­turn­ers, here’s your chance. Weird ti­tle but out­stand­ing book: Lau­rent Binet’s HHhH, a novel about the as­sas­si­na­tion of Nazi leader Rein­hard Hey­drich, and about an au­thor writ­ing a book about the Czech par­ti­sans who car­ried out the dar­ing hit. Prob­a­bly the best novel I read this year. Ben El­ton’s Two Brothers, about ‘‘ twins’’ (one is adopted) grow­ing up in Ger­many as Hitler comes to power (a pop­u­lar set­ting!), is a long and mostly crack­ing read per­fect for the hol­i­days. I’d also press it on the teenage reader in your life. Think­ing of younger read­ers re­minds us that JK Rowl­ing pub­lished her first adult novel, The Ca­sual Va­cancy, a book you could knock over in the hol­i­days and so have an in­formed opin­ion on the mer­its of her prose.

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