With magnificently decorated and gilded settings and dramatic political turns in every episode, what we have here is House of Cards transported into the world of The Tudors (but with a lot less sex). Wolf Hall ends—spoiler from 1536!—with Anne’s beheading, which Cromwell witnesses along with his son, Gregory. Geoffrey Elton used to argue that he founded modern government, but later historians have pared back his role, and one recent biographer, Robert Hutchinson, portrayed him as a corrupt proto-Stalinist. ‘Henry stirs into life. In that sense, "Wolf Hall" is a lot like reading Shakespeare. Alastair Grant . . Like every good book, it will give you withdrawal symptoms after finishing it. I applaud the work, but not a fun read. Popsugar 2021 #9 - A Book with a Family Tree, Thomas Cromwell was the Islamic State of his day, Cromwell, the fixers’ fixer: a role model for our times, A man for all seasons : a play of Sir Thomas More. That wacky King Henry VIII and his six wives! For the first 50 pages or so I was irritated at the vague pronoun usages (mentioned in nearly every review I have read on Amazon) and the dizzying cast of characters. At this point, only 16 pages in, the action cuts to 1527, with Cromwell back in England, "a little over forty years old" and a trusted agent of Cardinal Wolsey. Wolf Hall › Customer reviews; Customer reviews. And then something happened; I got use to Ms. Mantel's writing style, and my knowledge of history kicked in and I was swept up in the story. Wolf Hall (2009) is a historical novel by English author Hilary Mantel, published by Fourth Estate, named after the Seymour family's seat of Wolfhall, or Wulfhall, in Wiltshire. hilary mantel is such a tease. In “Wolf Hall,” Hilary Mantel’s arch, elegant, richly detailed biographical novel centered on Cromwell, she has used Holbein’s delivery of the portrait as … Central figures - the Boleyn sisters, Catherine of Aragon, the young Mary Tudor, the king himself - are brought plausibly to life, as are Cromwell's wife, Liz Wykys, and Cardinal Wolsey. This could be interesting! homas Cromwell, the chief minister to Henry VIII who oversaw the break with Rome and the dissolution of the monasteries, was widely hated in his lifetime, and he makes a surprising fictional hero now. And also, despite being a citizen of a Commonwealth nation with Her Royal Majesty's mug plastered all over my bills and coins, the Union Jack incorporated into my provincial flag, and a mom who dragged me out of bed at 4 a.m. to watch Lady Diana, Princess of Wales walk to her doom - err, groom - I am not, nor have I ever been, a monarchist. We’d love your help. And that wacky Protestant Reformation that changed the world! Frankly, most of what I know about the Tudors comes from watching Showtime’s, Reading this novel was unlike many of my previous reading experiences. One of the most interesting things about history is thinking about perspective. You heard of Thomas Cromwell but you don’t know exactly why he is so important? Geoffrey Elton used to argue that he founded modern government, but later historians have pared back his role, and one recent biographer, Robert Hutchinson, portrayed him as a corrupt proto-Stalinist. Wolf Hall languished on my “to be read” list for years. I just started Wolf Hall, and I find the relentless use of "he" to be extremely irritating. But having said that, once you are in the narrative, it is a great read. It would be more about the environment. Reading this novel was unlike many of my previous reading experiences. He would, for a difference in your Greek, kill you." And if one is unfamiliar with the English history like I was, it can be quite confusing. I echo the same sentiments. You want to learn more about this period in England’s history and you think Wolf Hall is the place to start? Mantel attacks the problem from several angles, starting by knowing a lot about the period but not drawing attention to how strenuously she's imagining it. At some points her writing is simply beautiful, but there are also some real difficulties associated with it. His life-shaping experiences in France, Italy and the Netherlands are dealt with in flashback here and there: he has been a soldier, a trader and an accountant for a Florentine bank; he has killed a man and learned to appreciate Italian painting. Mantel is a prolific, protean figure who doesn't fit into many of the established pigeonholes for women writers, and whose output ranges from the French revolution (A Place of Greater Safety) to her own troubled childhood (Giving Up the Ghost). I agree. So yeah, I found it a rewarding read. I love historical fiction, especially from this time period, so I expected to really like this one. Increase the spread of benevolence. Wolf Hall was first broadcast in April 2015 in the United States on PBS and in Australia on BBC First. by Hilary Mantel. Wolf Hall, the Seymour family seat, is a site of scandal in the novel, a place where men prey on women and the old on the young. England in the 1520s is a heartbeat from disaster. In “Wolf Hall” it is More, the great imaginer of utopia, who is the ruthless tormenter of English Protestants, using the rack and the ax to set the “quaking world” aright. Bring in better figures next year." Wolf Hall continues to hold viewers captive not only because of its gorgeous costumes and sumptuous period detailing, but the nuanced script that electrifies this … You heard of Thomas Cromwell but you don’t know exactly why he is so important? Well, I can tell you, I read Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel because it won the Book Prize For Fiction in 2009. He insists on 'charity' . Without clobbering the reader with the weight of her research, Mantel works up a 16th-century world in which only a joker would call for cherries in April or lettuce in December, and where hearing an unlicensed preacher is an illicit thrill on a par with risking syphilis. … [Well, I could not find one with legs but you get the picture. I have promoted you to a place in this kingdom that no one, no one of your breeding has ever held in the whole of the history of this realm.’ He drops his voice. A sequel is apparently in the works, and it's not the least of Mantel's achievements that the reader finishes this 650-page book wanting more. The effortless-seeming management of contrasting registers plays a big part in the novel's success, as does Mantel's decision to let Cromwell have a sense of humour. As he reacts to others' reactions of him (many times, he is bemused to see how he is thought of) another layer of characterization is added. Everyone knows about the Tudors. Maybe this book will win one of the prizes that have been withheld so far. [ the earlier demise of yet another Thomas, Thomas More. 5 star 54% 4 star 18% 3 star 11% 2 star 9% 1 star 8% Wolf Hall. How are ratings calculated? ‘Do I retain you for what is easy? Judged by that standard, The 'Mirror and The Light' is a … Price: $35.61 + $4.99 shipping. He looks, as. Whatever he might feel or want must be subsumed in service to the throne. He's made repulsive even more by the self-adoring theatricality behind his modest exterior than by his interest in torturing heretics and contemptuous treatment of his wife. And what do you know, it's another piece of historical fiction set in England and written by a woman. I keep you, Master Cromwell, because you are as cunning as a bag of serpents…..’’. Jesus pity my simplicity. And what do you know, it's another piece of historical fiction set in England and written by a woman. It’s a historical novel, and I LOVE historical novels, but it’s also about 550 pages of historical novel. Law and financial administration - his main activities - don't always ignite writers' imaginations, and in the pop-Foucauldian worldview of much historical fiction since the 1980s, his bureaucratic innovations would be seen as inherently sinister. Making characters of all these people is, of course, a big risk. Depends on what kind of reader you are. But Wolf Hall succeeds on its own terms and then some, both as a non-frothy historical novel and as a display of Mantel's extraordinary talent. Fluent in many languages, learned, witty and thoughtful, he's also an intimidating physical presence; Wolsey fondly compares him to "one of those square-shaped fighting dogs that low men tow about on ropes". More, he knows, thinks "love" is "a wicked mistranslation. Season 1 Review: Although Wolf Hall does require an unusual amount of work on the viewer’s part, as well as the patience of, well, a saint, the performances and how they eventually elucidate the theme of what power can do to a man and a nation when it becomes too personal, make it mostly but belatedly worthwhile. Like the cheerier British import Downton Abbey, Wolf Hall is, under its gilded surface, a story about change: ideological and technological shifts most … Mantel's Cromwell is an omnicompetent figure, "at home in courtroom or waterfront, bishop's palace or inn yard. He's a sideshow to Wolsey in Shakespeare and Fletcher's Henry VIII, a villain who hounds Thomas More to his death in Robert Bolt's A Man for All Seasons. I'm really disappointed that I was unable to get into this book as so many have raved about it. In Wolf Hall, Mantel persuasively depicts this beefy pen-pusher and backstairs manoeuvrer as one of the most appealing - and, in his own way, enlightened - characters of the period. 56 customer ratings. . Welcome back. This book doesn't start easy. After the downfall of Cardinal Wolsey, his secretary, Thomas Cromwell, finds himself amongst the treachery and intrigue of King Henry VIII's court and soon becomes a close advisor to the King, a role fraught with danger. If the king dies without a male heir, the country could be destroyed by civil war. Format: DVD Change. Law and financial administration - his main activities - don't always ignite writers' imaginations, and in the pop-Foucauldian worldview of much historical fiction since the 1980s, his bureaucratic innovations would be seen as inherently sinister. It takes a minute to get use to the style and language, and previous knowledge of the characters and their relationships is a plus, and then it is a very enjoyable experience. This being said, I have hidden plot spoilers, but I will not be held accountable for the “spoilers” of history. [ In the end, we are left watching the bulldog tenacity (and loyalty) of Cromwell continue indefinitely into the future, as he sits at his desk at the height of his influence, little knowing what (we know) history has in store. See All Buying Options. Small rises in the level of language are frequently used for comic effect, as in: "Well, I tell you, Lady Shelton, if she had had an axe to hand, she would have essayed to cut off my head." Stylistically speaking, she is very distinctive. Yet I think all of us fall into the trap of thinking of the past in moralistic terms sometimes. I admit my brain skimmed over most of the religious stuff, but the old timey goss kept me glued to this story throughout. Curious to see what book could beat one of my favorite books of all time, I looked up Wolf Hall. Already displaying toughness, intelligence and a gift for languages, he runs away to the continent as a boy of 15 or so (his date of birth isn't known, and in the novel he doesn't know it himself). You are in Cromwell's head; you see everything from his perspective. It takes a minute to get use to the style and language, and. Read full review He's a sideshow to Wolsey in Shakespeare and Fletcher's Henry VIII, a villain who hounds Thomas More to his death in Robert Bolt's A Man for All Seasons. The first half of the novel, built around Wolsey's fall from power, details Cromwell's domestic setup at Austin Friars and introduces the major players in Tudor politics. Into this impasse steps Thomas Cromwell: a wholly original man, a charmer and a bully, both idealist and opportunist, astute in reading people, and implacable in his ambition. Wolf Hall was exhilaratingly confident in rewriting its main character as a hero; each new piece of the identity he assembled for himself held its … The thing to remember when starting this book is that 99% percent of the time the pronoun 'he' refers to Cromwell, even at times when the sentence structure makes it seems like 'he' would be someone else. For the first 50 pages or so I was irritated at the vague pronoun usages (mentioned in nearly every review I have read on Amazon) and the dizzying cast of characters. He lives to serve the king, and as a minister to the king he cannot indulge in such distracting luxuries as grief or rage or love or hate. I felt as if I am suddenly cut off from the English court and missing all the gossips, all the wheelings and dealings that I had become part of. I agree. Determined, controlled but occasionally impulsive, and a talented hater, Mantel's Anne Boleyn is a more formidable character even than her uncle the Duke of Norfolk, portrayed here as a scheming old warhorse who rattles a bit when he moves on account of all the relics and holy medals concealed about his person. Into this impasse steps Thomas Cromwell: a wholly original man, a charmer and a bully, both idealist and opportunist, astu. Review: Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel. 'Wolf Hall': Review. 08/15/2012 02:55 pm ET Updated Oct 15, 2012 I generally tend to avoid long books. I just found the prose exceptionally dense and confusing. Two hundred, then. Wolf Hall episode 3 review: Anna Regina February 5, 2015 | By Louisa Mellor. The Average Tomatometer is the sum of … You see, The Children's Book by A.S. Byatt was nominated for the Booker in 2009, but did not win. The civil wars that brought the Tudors to the throne still make older people shudder, bringing Henry's obsession with producing a male heir into focus. How do you write about Henry VIII without being camp or breathless or making him do something clunkily non-stereotypical? They’re there weighing down the bookshelf, Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies, unread, two big slabs of guilt (or executioners blocks, they’d serve that purpose well). But self-advancement isn't Cromwell's only motive. I finally gave up at 209 pages. Lyrically yet cleanly and tightly written, solidly imagined yet filled with spooky resonances, and very funny at times, it's not like much else in contemporary British fiction. Cromwell asks if he can bury his elder daughter with a copybook she's written her name in; "the priest says he has never heard of such a thing". by Picador USA. Why then was. The series was a critical success and received eight nominations at the 67th Primetime Emmy Awards and three nominations at the 73rd Golden Globe Awards, winning for Best Miniseries or Television Film. Wolf Hall review: An imperious Mark Rylance revels in darkness in Hilary Mantel adaptation It will struggle to match Julian Fellowes’ blockbuster for impact … You don’t know much about Henry VIII except that he was an English king, had a lot of wives and changed the official Church of England so he could bang another woman? And the precarious nature of early modern life is brought home by the abrupt deaths of Cromwell's wife and daughters, carried off by successive epidemics in moving but unsentimentally staged scenes. Curious to see what book could beat one of my favorite books of all time, I looked up Wolf Hall. I was intrigued, so I picked it up from the bookstore, determined to see if it was really better than The Children's Book. Open this photo in gallery: Hilary Mantel at the Man-Booker Prize ceremony. Meaty dialogue takes precedence over description, and the present-tense narration is so closely tied to the main character that Cromwell is usually called plain "he", even when it causes ambiguities. What an amazing time! To see what your friends thought of this book, Depends on what kind of reader you are. You Need To Read This! Let us know what’s wrong with this preview of, Published But they are all good stories.”, Orange Prize Nominee for Fiction Shortlist (2010), James Tait Black Memorial Prize Nominee for Fiction (2009), Costa Book Award Nominee for Novel (2009), Magnesia Litera Nominee for Translation (Litera za překladovou knihu) (2011), National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction (2009), The Rooster -- The Morning News Tournament of Books (2010). Diagnosed With Diabetes? Every once in a while, as if recognizing the problem she has created, Mantel uses the phrase "he, Cromwell." Been on my shelf for four years - should I read it?? I feel that I am extremely well-versed in the topic and I can't imagine anyone who doesn't already know the details of the events being able to read this. 5 star 69% 4 star 13% 3 star 7% 2 star 7% 1 star 4% Wolf Hall [Import] by Mark Rylance. The pope and most of Europe opposes him. The feudal mindset of Wolsey's rival grandees seems equally outdated to him: jibes at his lowly origins bounce off his certainty that noble blood and feats of arms now count for less than lines of credit and nicely balanced books. Why not just say Cromwell? Start by marking “Wolf Hall” as Want to Read: Error rating book. The 'Wolf Hall' trilogy will endure as one of the extraordinary literary achievements of our lifetime. I found this book difficult to read, because one had to constantly refer to family trees. So many people think it's brilliant while I couldn't maintain enough interest to finish it. He looks, as Hilary Mantel has him say in her new novel, "like a murderer". Very few people lived their lives with an intention of being known as a villain of history. It's partly laziness, I suppose, and partly its close relative, impatience. He's disgusted by the waste and superstition he encounters, and takes a materialist view of relics and indulgences. A series gets an Average Tomatometer when at least 50 percent of its seasons have a score. In the first several chapters, there are dozens of instances where it is not clear who is speaking. Wolf Hall was that way for me. You already know everything there is to know about the life and deeds of the 2 men and are interested in a beau. View All Wolf Hall News . Have you ever been with a group of people when someone tells a joke and the rest of the group thinks it's hilarious but you just don't get it? Hard to read and yet hard to put down. Beautifully written and acted, Wolf Hall has the sheen of a classic PBS production from the word go. Do you ever wonder about why people choose to read the books they do? Wolf Hall [Import] › Customer reviews; Customer reviews. Courtesy of PBS Anchored by Mark Rylance ’s towering central performance, “ Wolf Hall ” is a very quiet “Masterpiece,” visiting the court … Not sure it is one I would recommend as a MUST read....anyone think differently? 4.4 out of 5. Andrew Billen. Well, let me tell you, IT ISN’T. From personal view, 'Wolf Hall' is a very well-made series, the scenery, locations and interiors are incredibly lavish and the costumes are well-worn, true to period and lovingly tailored (didn't see any cheapness at all). Henry VIII wants to annul his marriage of twenty years and marry Anne Boleyn. Above all, Mantel avoids ye olde-style diction, preferring more contemporary phrasing. Cromwell helps him break the opposition, but what will be the price of his triumph? she calls her book, You don’t know much about Henry VIII except that he was an English king, had a lot of wives and changed the official Church of England so he could bang another woman? At times I was confused as to who was 'speaking' and couldn't follow it. Glad to see others feel the same way! Readers On Tackling Their Ultimate TBR Book. I have always been fascinated by the history of England under the Tudors, particularly Henry VIII. Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account. This is a function of generations of storytelling and cultural indoctrination. It took me a short while to realize this, but once I did, I was fine. Well, let me tell you, IT ISN’T. Hilary Mantel is the bestselling author of many novels including, “It is the absence of facts that frightens people: the gap you open, into which they pour their fears, fantasies, desires.”, “Some of these things are true and some of them lies. About Tomatometer. The pope and most of Europe opposes him. A successful marriage of elegant, sophisticated (although, at times, incredibly dense) writing and salacious historical details. Well, I can tell you, I read Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel because it won the Book Prize For Fiction in 2009. And if one is unfamiliar with the English history like I was, it can be quite co. Study the market. Refresh and try again. “Wolf Hall,” the BBC adaptation of two Booker Prize-winning novels by Hilary Mantel, looked ominously like the same old, same old: a costume drama set in … I feel that I am extremely well-versed in the topic and I can't imagine anyone who doesn't already know the details of the events being able. In that sense, "Wolf Hall" is a lot like reading Shakespeare. TV 7 TV shows with ‘wolf’ in the title that don’t feature a single wolf…until now September 9, 2016 | … Unfortunately I gave up on this book at page 84. Do you ever wonder about why people choose to read the books they do? For all its structural and thematic importance, however, Cromwell's conflict with More is only part of a wider battle caused by Henry's desire to have his first marriage annulled. August 31st 2010 In the second half of the novel - which charts Cromwell's rise to favour as he clears the way for the king's marriage to Anne Boleyn - More emerges as Cromwell's opposite number, more a spokesman for another worldview than a practical antagonist. Grieving, he thinks of Tyndale's banned English Bible: "now abideth faith, hope and love, even these three; but the greatest of these is love." At the same time, sinister grace notes accompany Cromwell's triumph. (Her family’s Whig hatred of Elizabeth I is one of the few things I hold against Jane Austen.) Plus, the writing style does not always make it obvious what person the story is being told in - or who is even speaking for pages. Love the show too. Set in the period from 1500 to 1535, Wolf Hall is a sympathetic fictionalised biography documenting the rapid rise to power of Thomas Cromwell in the court of Henry VIII through to the death of Sir Thomas More. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Post-children, that’s a big investment of reading time, and Tudor England didn’t compel me to move the book up my list – I’ve read so many Tudor-era books. Much space is given over to court politics, which Mantel manages to make comprehensible without downplaying its considerable complexity. I harbor the belief that the sheer bulk of so many of the books … But it's also partly out of a genuine belief that what can be said in 600 pages can often be said as well in two. 4.0 out of 5 stars. "Love your neighbour. You already know everything there is to know about the life and deeds of the 2 men and are interested in a beautiful, literary take on the subject? 4.4 out of 5 stars. Then there's the portrait of him, after Holbein: a dewlapped man in dark robes with a shrewd, unfriendly face, holding a folded paper like an upturned dagger. This book doesn't start easy. In Wolf Hall, Cromwell’s daughters have died, but he cannot allow himself the luxury of grief. And then something happened; I got use to Ms. Mantel's writing style, and my knowledge of history kicked in and I was swept up in the story. In Wolf Hall, Mantel persuasively depicts this beefy pen-pusher and backstairs manoeuvrer as one of the most appealing - and, in his own way, enlightened - characters of the period. Henry VIII wants to annul his marriage of twenty years and marry Anne Boleyn. It's also where Jane Seymour first caught Henry's eye - an event that falls just outside the book's time scheme, but which serves as a reminder that, whatever their status in 1535, most of the major characters will end up with their heads on the block. Well, here we all are, sheltering in place, buying canned beans, and generally trying to figure out how to stay inside and keep our minds busy.... England in the 1520s is a heartbeat from disaster. Shabbily dressed, genial, yet punctiliously correct on politically controversial points, this More is a far cry from Bolt's gentle humanist martyr. There are facts that we don't ever necessarily learn, or at least can remember learning, that we don't pause to consider. Mantel keeps too close an eye on facts and emotions to make her story an arch allegory of modern Britain's origins, but her setting of such unglamorous virtues as financial transparency and legal clarity against the forces of reaction and mystification is interesting and mildly provocative. He can draft a contract, train a falcon, draw a map, stop a street fight, furnish a house and fix a jury." This makes him an ideal emissary for Wolsey's project of liquidating some smaller monasteries to fund a school and an Oxford college. You want to learn more about this period in England’s history and you think Wolf Hall is the place to start? If not a man for all seasons, the book's heroic accountant is surely the man for his season. Then Hillary Mantell’s novel might be exactly why you are looking for. If I left it for a few days I almost had to start again. If the king dies without a male heir, the country could be destroyed by civil war. He ends up stage-managing his own destruction out of narcissism and fanaticism, or at best a cold idealism that's contrasted unfavourably with Cromwell's reforming worldliness. I chalk this up partly to a morbid fascination, and partly to a genuine desire to understand the circumstances leading up to the Golden Age of Elizabeth I. 4 out of 5. This could be interesting! The charm of your presence? Then there's the portrait of him, after Holbein: a dewlapped man in dark robes with a shrewd, unfriendly face, holding a folded paper like an upturned dagger. Even people not particularly interested in history know the bare bones of the story, and people world-wide all seem to have heard about Henry VIII. You see, The Children's Book by A.S. Byatt was nominated for the Booker in 2009, but did not win. TV Review: Wolf Hall TV’s take on Hilary Mantel’s royal drama has provided a rarefied viewing experience: like having a bath in champagne. Write a review. A historian might wonder about the extent to which she makes Cromwell a modern rationalist in Renaissance dress; a critic might wonder if the narrator's awe at the central character doesn't sometimes make him seem as self-mythologising as his enemies. Hilary Mantel sure knows how to write; her prose is eloquent and sophisticated. Nice review! Very few writers wield grammar the way she does; she uses every means of punctuation at her disposal to achieve real effectual writing. I suspect it is one of the most popular periods to study in English history with its cast of colourful characters, intrigues, passions, extremes, extravagances, important political and religious changes and mind-blowingly violent events. Taking off from the scant evidence concerning his early life, she imagines a miserable childhood for him as the son of a violent, drunken blacksmith in Putney. Sources: - Wolf Hall (2015) (screenshots taken from here since it saved me a load of time! 3,338 global ratings. I usually devour historical fiction, but this one has become tedious. But Henry is volatile: one day tender, one day murderous. First off, I find the whole notion of the monarchy - any monarchy - absurd. Chris Scott. I am a reader who thinks British history is fascinating, and I've long had a soft spot for the Tudors. There are too many Thomases and like. ‘Do you think it is for your personal beauty? Thomas Cromwell, the chief minister to Henry VIII who oversaw the break with Rome and the dissolution of the monasteries, was widely hated in his lifetime, and he makes a surprising fictional hero now. I don’t have much to add to the excellent reviews on here about the Booker Prize-winning first volume in Hilary Mantel’s Thomas Cromwell trilogy. To write ; her prose is eloquent and sophisticated have died, did! Don ’ t know exactly why he is so important a man for his season is `` wicked. More contemporary phrasing get the picture many have raved about it to get this... 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