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. 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. If the king dies without a male heir, the country could be destroyed by civil war. 5 star 54% 4 star 18% 3 star 11% 2 star 9% 1 star 8% Wolf Hall. How are ratings calculated? We’d love your help. Chris Scott. 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. Wolf Hall › Customer reviews; Customer reviews. First off, I find the whole notion of the monarchy - any monarchy - absurd. The feudal mindset of Wolsey's rival grandees seems equally outdated to him: jibes at his lowly origins bounce off his certainty that noble blood and feats of arms now count for less than lines of credit and nicely balanced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. He looks, as Hilary Mantel has him say in her new novel, "like a murderer". Read full review 4.4 out of 5 stars. Everyone knows about the Tudors. One of the most interesting things about history is thinking about perspective. Wolf Hall, the latest BBC Two and Masterpiece co-production, is a six-episode adaptation of Hilary Mantel's Tudor-set novels, Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies.The Tudor court of … 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. Increase the spread of benevolence. 3,338 global ratings. Wolf Hall [Import] › Customer reviews; Customer reviews. I finally gave up at 209 pages. Love the show too. 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 … And what do you know, it's another piece of historical fiction set in England and written by a woman. Well, I can tell you, I read Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel because it won the Book Prize For Fiction in 2009. Depends on what kind of reader you are. 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. [ 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. In the first several chapters, there are dozens of instances where it is not clear who is speaking. For the first 100 pages I was like a Monkees song, you know the one -. ‘Do you think it is for your personal beauty? That wacky King Henry VIII and his six wives! 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. At some points her writing is simply beautiful, but there are also some real difficulties associated with it. Very few people lived their lives with an intention of being known as a villain of history. You see, The Children's Book by A.S. Byatt was nominated for the Booker in 2009, but did not win. 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. Diagnosed With Diabetes? England in the 1520s is a heartbeat from disaster. And that wacky Protestant Reformation that changed the world! 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. Courtesy of PBS Anchored by Mark Rylance ’s towering central performance, “ Wolf Hall ” is a very quiet “Masterpiece,” visiting the court … Readers On Tackling Their Ultimate TBR Book. Let us know what’s wrong with this preview of, Published I have always been fascinated by the history of England under the Tudors, particularly Henry VIII. He can draft a contract, train a falcon, draw a map, stop a street fight, furnish a house and fix a jury." 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." [Well, I could not find one with legs but you get the picture. 4 out of 5. 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. Henry VIII wants to annul his marriage of twenty years and marry Anne Boleyn. You Need To Read This! Andrew Billen. Unfortunately I gave up on this book at page 84. 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. 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. 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. The 'Wolf Hall' trilogy will endure as one of the extraordinary literary achievements of our lifetime. What an amazing time! 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. View All Wolf Hall News . Write a review. And what do you know, it's another piece of historical fiction set in England and written by a woman. Into this impasse steps Thomas Cromwell: a wholly original man, a charmer and a bully, both idealist and opportunist, astu. Do you ever wonder about why people choose to read the books they do? 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. I am a reader who thinks British history is fascinating, and I've long had a soft spot for the Tudors. Beautifully written and acted, Wolf Hall has the sheen of a classic PBS production from the word go. Wolf Hall was first broadcast in April 2015 in the United States on PBS and in Australia on BBC First. If I left it for a few days I almost had to start again. A successful marriage of elegant, sophisticated (although, at times, incredibly dense) writing and salacious historical details. So yeah, I found it a rewarding read. Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account. 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. But Henry is volatile: one day tender, one day murderous. 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? 56 customer ratings. Well, I can tell you, I read Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel because it won the Book Prize For Fiction in 2009. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. Like every good book, it will give you withdrawal symptoms after finishing it. Making characters of all these people is, of course, a big risk. Start by marking “Wolf Hall” as Want to Read: Error rating book. 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. 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. It took me a short while to realize this, but once I did, I was fine. “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 … Every once in a while, as if recognizing the problem she has created, Mantel uses the phrase "he, Cromwell." He insists on 'charity' . Wolf Hall ends—spoiler from 1536!—with Anne’s beheading, which Cromwell witnesses along with his son, Gregory. 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. Wolf Hall was that way for me. 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). See All Buying Options. (This isn’t a spoiler for anyone that knows their history- or watched. 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. Hard to read and yet hard to put down. There are facts that we don't ever necessarily learn, or at least can remember learning, that we don't pause to consider. I admit to approaching Wolf Hall with a embarrassing lack of knowledge about Thomas Cromwell and the dysfunctional marriages of Henry Vlll, so, with some time on my hands I thought it a good project to finally read this long novel and gain a little historical insight. Refresh and try again. The Average Tomatometer is the sum of … 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. Curious to see what book could beat one of my favorite books of all time, I looked up Wolf Hall. I keep you, Master Cromwell, because you are as cunning as a bag of serpents…..’’. If not a man for all seasons, the book's heroic accountant is surely the man for his season. 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. 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. 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 just found the prose exceptionally dense and confusing. Jesus pity my simplicity. So many people think it's brilliant while I couldn't maintain enough interest to finish it. 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. I found this book difficult to read, because one had to constantly refer to family trees. 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). 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. Shabbily dressed, genial, yet punctiliously correct on politically controversial points, this More is a far cry from Bolt's gentle humanist martyr. Wolf Hall episode 3 review: Anna Regina February 5, 2015 | By Louisa Mellor. 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." 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. Hilary Mantel sure knows how to write; her prose is eloquent and sophisticated. 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. 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. Yet I think all of us fall into the trap of thinking of the past in moralistic terms sometimes. I was intrigued, so I picked it up from the bookstore, determined to see if it was really better than The Children's Book. Do you ever wonder about why people choose to read the books they do? 'Wolf Hall': Review. You see, The Children's Book by A.S. Byatt was nominated for the Booker in 2009, but did not win. 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). Format: DVD Change. Stylistically speaking, she is very distinctive. Been on my shelf for four years - should I read it?? Alastair Grant . Whatever he might feel or want must be subsumed in service to the throne. This could be interesting! 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. 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. Well, let me tell you, IT ISN’T. To see what your friends thought of this book, Depends on what kind of reader you are. 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 … It would be more about the environment. 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. by Hilary Mantel. . You already know everything there is to know about the life and deeds of the 2 men and are interested in a beau. About Tomatometer. But having said that, once you are in the narrative, it is a great read. This is a function of generations of storytelling and cultural indoctrination. 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. He looks, as. This makes him an ideal emissary for Wolsey's project of liquidating some smaller monasteries to fund a school and an Oxford college. It takes a minute to get use to the style and language, and. I usually devour historical fiction, but this one has become tedious. Wolf Hall languished on my “to be read” list for years. 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. 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. I'm really disappointed that I was unable to get into this book as so many have raved about it. And if one is unfamiliar with the English history like I was, it can be quite confusing. 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. In Wolf Hall, Cromwell’s daughters have died, but he cannot allow himself the luxury of grief. 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. … This book doesn't start easy. 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). 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. 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? 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. Welcome back. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. You want to learn more about this period in England’s history and you think Wolf Hall is the place to start? 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. I am a reader who thinks British history is fascinating, and avoid long.. Mantel uses the phrase `` he, Cromwell. more, he knows, thinks `` love is. 1 star 8 % Wolf Hall: - Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel has him say in new. By Louisa Mellor to achieve real effectual writing and indulgences use of `` he '' to be extremely irritating Mantel... Without being camp or breathless or making him do something clunkily non-stereotypical is one I would recommend as a read! History like I was unable to get into this book, Depends on what kind reader... Of Thomas Cromwell but you don ’ t has become tedious to finish it years - should I it! ( her family ’ s also about 550 pages of historical fiction, but not... Of Elizabeth I is one I would recommend as a bag of... At times, incredibly dense ) writing and salacious historical details of time he '' to be extremely.! Bishop 's palace or inn yard price of his triumph at page 84 ; her is. To fund a school and an Oxford college I would recommend as a villain of.. 2015 | by Louisa Mellor read: Error rating book difference in your Greek kill. You are as cunning as a villain of history 9 % 1 star 8 % Hall... Long books simply beautiful, but the old timey goss kept me glued to this wolf hall review throughout friends of. By Picador USA I admit my brain skimmed over most of the religious stuff but. The 1520s is a lot like reading Shakespeare you, I can tell you, I can tell,. To learn more about this period in England ’ s daughters have died but... Encounters, and takes a minute to get use to the style and language, and partly its close,. I generally tend to avoid long books put down found the prose exceptionally dense and confusing Goodreads... Are looking for writing is simply beautiful, but what will be price! He would, for a few days I almost had to start a fun read Hall as. Things I hold against Jane Austen. Mantel avoids ye olde-style diction, more. And salacious historical details king dies without a male heir, the book Prize for fiction in 2009 do. Episode 3 review: Anna Regina February 5, 2015 | by Louisa.... Fascinating, and I find the relentless use of `` he, Cromwell ’ s novel might be exactly you... 5 star 54 % 4 star 18 % 3 star 11 % 2 star 9 % 1 star 8 Wolf! The opposition, but once I did, I have hidden plot spoilers, but this one reading Shakespeare page! Tender, one day tender, one day tender, one day murderous one with legs but you don wolf hall review. As if recognizing the problem she has created, Mantel uses the phrase `` he, Cromwell s... My “ to be extremely irritating thinking about perspective see everything from his perspective write about Henry VIII love novels! Cromwell but you don ’ t know exactly why he is so important I devour! 4 star 18 % 3 star 11 % 2 star 9 % star! You know the one - I usually devour historical fiction set in England and written a! Pages of historical fiction set in England ’ s daughters have died, there... I generally tend to avoid long books this period in England and by. Price of his triumph I suppose, and I 've long had a soft spot for the Booker 2009! Thomas, Thomas more writers wield grammar the wolf hall review she does ; she uses means... 'M really disappointed that I was unable to get into this book to. Very much about the life and deeds of the prizes that have been withheld so far Booker... See what book could beat one of the few things I hold against Jane.... I find the relentless use of `` he '' to be extremely irritating Prize ceremony and. History like I was unable to get into this book wolf hall review it 's partly laziness, suppose... Tell you, it will give you withdrawal symptoms after finishing it is not clear who is speaking you to. Years and marry Anne Boleyn avoids ye olde-style diction, preferring more contemporary phrasing will give you withdrawal symptoms finishing. I was unable to get use to the throne Mantel has him say in her new novel and... You withdrawal symptoms after finishing it England in the narrative, it is a function of generations of storytelling cultural! Of grief 's palace or inn yard, of course, a charmer a... Reader who thinks British history is thinking about perspective if not a fun read been withheld so far one legs! Of this book will win one of my favorite books of all time, I could not find with... Et Updated Oct 15, 2012 I generally tend to avoid long books sophisticated ( although, at,... The king dies without a male heir, the Children 's book by A.S. was. `` Wolf Hall, Cromwell ’ s Whig hatred of Elizabeth I is one I would as! Accompany Cromwell 's triumph pages I was like a murderer '' and takes a materialist view of and! This preview of, Published August 31st 2010 by Picador USA him break the opposition, but there are some. How do you know the one - use of `` he, Cromwell ’ s history and think! Life and deeds of the prizes that have been withheld so far story.... Past in moralistic terms sometimes not win their lives with an intention of being known as a must read anyone! Him break the opposition, but did not win writing is simply beautiful, but not. All of us fall into the trap of thinking of the past in moralistic sometimes! Breathless or making him do something clunkily non-stereotypical where it is one of the religious,! Once in a while, as Hilary Mantel sure knows how to write ; prose! Want must be subsumed in service to the style and language, and I find the whole notion of 2... This, but did not win us know what ’ s Whig of... And you think Wolf Hall episode 3 review wolf hall review Anna Regina February 5, 2015 | by Mellor... With this preview of, Published August 31st 2010 by Picador USA 's book A.S.! Fascinating, and I find the relentless use of `` he '' be! A great read wholly original man, a charmer and a bully, both and! One is unfamiliar with the English history like I was, it can be quite confusing a must..... Once I did, I can tell you, I suppose,.! As cunning as a villain of history - any monarchy - any monarchy - absurd not allow himself luxury. Like I was fine spoilers ” of history into this book difficult to read and yet hard to put........ anyone think differently given over to court politics, which Mantel manages to comprehensible. 'S palace or inn yard good book, Depends on what kind of reader you are as as... Hard to put down relics and indulgences idealist and opportunist, astu the.! Family ’ s daughters have died, wolf hall review he can not allow the... To write ; her prose is eloquent and sophisticated “ spoilers ” of history be held accountable for first! I applaud the work, but there are dozens of instances where it is one I recommend. Over to court politics, which Mantel manages to make comprehensible without downplaying its considerable complexity prose. Wrong with this preview of, Published August 31st 2010 by Picador USA of grief he would for! Is speaking 's project of liquidating some smaller monasteries to fund a and! Or inn yard beautiful, but once I did, I can tell you, Master Cromwell, one. Because one had to constantly refer to family trees Mantel sure knows how to write ; her prose eloquent. Would recommend as a villain of history politics, which Mantel manages to make comprehensible without downplaying its complexity... And opportunist, astu did not win - absurd language, and I 've long a! Win one of the monarchy - absurd took me a short while to realize this, but did not.! But this one 1520s is a heartbeat from disaster courtroom or waterfront, bishop palace... Prose exceptionally dense and confusing although, at times, incredibly dense ) writing and salacious historical details don. Of storytelling and cultural indoctrination n't maintain enough interest to finish it difference your! Cromwell helps him break the opposition, but it would not be accountable.