Monday, 6 June 2011

Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall

For the first couple of hundred pages, I thought this might be something special, to put beside The Name of the Rose: compelling fiction which is also valuable history, an attempt to re-enact medieval thought [1]. It isn’t. It’s wonderfully written at the sentence level, it has set-pieces both funny and bleak, and Mantel’s Thomas Cromwell is a great character – appealing, frightening, sympathetic and dreadful. But Wolf Hall, finally, is high-class soap opera. It’s excellent entertainment, but it’s not more than that.

[1] See R. G. Collingwood, Autobiography, chapter X.

No comments:

Post a Comment