'Lock Cromwell in a deep dungeon in the morning,' says Thomas More, 'and when you come back that night he'll be sitting on a plush cushion eating larks' tongues, and all the gaolers will owe him money.'
England, the 1520s. Henry VIII is on the throne, but has no heir. Cardinal Wolsey is his chief advisor, charged with securing the divorce the pope refuses to grant. Into this atmosphere of distrust and need comes Thomas Cromwell, first as Wolsey's clerk, and later his successor. Cromwell is a wholly original man: the son of a brutal blacksmith, a political genius, a briber, a charmer, a bully, a man with a delicate and deadly expertise in manipulating people and events. Ruthless in pursuit of his own interests, he is as ambitious in his wider politics as he is for himself. His reforming agenda is carried out in the grip of a self-interested parliament and a king who fluctuates between romantic passions and murderous rages. From one of our finest living writers, Wolf Hall is that very rare thing: a truly great English novel, one that explores the intersection of individual psychology and wider politics. With a vast array of characters, and richly overflowing with incident, it peels back history to show us Tudor England as a half-made society, moulding itself with great passion and suffering and courage.
About the Author Hilary Mantel was born in northern Derbyshire in 1952. She was educated at a convent school in Cheshire and went on to the LSE and Sheffield University, where she studied law. After university she was briefly a social worker in a geriatric hospital, and much later used her experiences in her novels Every Day is Mother's Day and Vacant Possession. In 1977 she went to live in Botswana with her husband, then a geologist. In 1982 they moved on to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, where she would set her third novel, Eight Months on Ghazzah Street.
Her first novel was published in 1985, and she returned to the UK the following year. In 1987 she was awarded the Shiva Naipaul Memorial Prize for travel writing, and became the film critic of the Spectator. Her fourth novel, Fludd, was awarded the Cheltenham Festival Prize, the Southern Arts Literature Prize, and the Winifred Holtby Prize. Her fifth novel, A Place of Greater Safety, won the Sunday Express Book of the Year Award.
A Change of Climate, published in 1993, is the story of an East Anglian family, former missionaries, torn apart by conflicts generated in Southern Africa in the early years of Apartheid. An Experiment in Love published in 1995, is a story about childhood and university life, set in London in 1970. It was awarded the Hawthornden Prize.
Beyond Black was shortlisted for the Orange Prize.
She reviews widely for a range of newspapers and magazines, and is working on two new novels, one contemporary and one set in the late 18th century.
By Anu Pathak,
Awesome read..surprisingly my friends say the same too... very well written. Kudos!
The Wolf Hall - An Absorbing Read!
The ‘Wolf Hall’ is a much acclaimed and absorbingly readable book, laced with historical nuances. Thomas Cromwell served as chief minister to Henry VIII who oversaw the break with Rome and the dissolution of the monasteries. For much of his lifetime, he was despised but surprisingly he makes a fictional hero.
Although criticized several times, in Wolf Hall the author has, very persuasively depicted his ‘pen –pusher ‘and ‘go-getter’ approach as one of the most appealing aspects. The book makes you believe that his mannerisms had, in a way, enlightened the characters of his epoch. The author has attacked the problems from several angles and the best part of the book is that it doesn’t begin from nowhere. It starts with surfeit of information about the period. Yet another striking feature is that dialogue takes precedence over description.
This book, despite being predominantly historical, adopts a contemporary literary approach. It is lyrically written, yet is so coherent that a fresh reader will easily comprehend the content. I have enjoyed reading the book to the hilt and have recommended the masterpiece to a few of my friends. They have loved the book too and all I can say is, this rich and absorbing book is surely a must read.
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