Wolf Hall - why can't I get into it?

(63 Posts)
zenoushka Mon 11-Mar-13 11:29:22

This is my second attempt at trying to read Wolf Hall, I've done a bit better and have managed to get myself to page 62 ( the first time I only managed to get to page 44 before I gave up).

My dad and best friend have absolutely raved about it, saying how amazing it is and that I have to stick with it and will realise how good it is. But quite frankly I'm just finding it a slog. At tips or advice? I love reading about the Tudors and am really interested in the period, but the grammar in the Book is really confusing me too...

Arcticwaffle Sun 17-Mar-13 19:30:03

I loved it, and am currently half way through BUTB, which I'm also gripped by. I avoided these books for ages as I don't normally like anything about the Tudors, or royal families, or royal marriages. And I haven't particularly liked previous Hilary Mantels. I still forget who is who among the minor characters but as a couple of people say, if you just concentrate on the main characters it makes more sense.

hatchibombatour Mon 18-Mar-13 16:45:21

I couldn't get into it either, and I don't have the patience any more to persevere with a book I'm not enjoying!

zenoushka Thu 04-Apr-13 17:24:35

I've managed to get to page 190 and it has got better. BUT, I'm not sure I'm really enjoying it. Finding it hard work....

MiddleAgeMiddleEngland Thu 04-Apr-13 19:59:47

I haven't read it, so can't comment, but The Oldie arrived today and it has a cartoon where a table leg (in a library, I think) is being propped up by a copy of Wolf Hall.

EuroShaggleton Fri 05-Apr-13 13:21:50

I struggled with the "he" thing too. I found it contrived and annoying.

I got to the end but was a bit underwhelmed, frankly.

Greydog Tue 16-Apr-13 09:27:50

I hated Wolf Hall. I'd really looked forward to reading it, and just thought it was rubbish. I won't waste any more time on Mantels books - except maybe to prop up table legs!

I'm so glad I'm not the only person who found this heavy going. I wanted to like it, but I thought it was turgid and didn't live up to the hype. Gave it to the charity shop. Life is absolutely too short to read books you don't enjoy.

GreenShadow England Sun 21-Apr-13 19:49:04

I liked the story in itself, but just hated her writing style.

I did persevere once I had started, but have no interest in following it up with The Bodies.

minsmum Germany Sun 21-Apr-13 20:53:37

I loved it but that was the second time of trying I would say its one of my top 10.

zenoushka Mon 22-Apr-13 15:22:13

I really am trying to enjoy it but am finding it very difficult. Just finding it such a chore every time I pick the book up...

juneau Mon 22-Apr-13 17:26:32

It's been sitting on my shelf staring at me for about two years now. I attempted it when I first bought it and gave up after about 10 pages. This post has not made me want to pick it up again!

DuchessofMalfi Mon 22-Apr-13 18:00:55

I'm going to attempt to read it in a week or so's time. I'm determined to persevere this time. I don't want it to be a chore though - life's too short grin

ProfessorDent Tue 23-Apr-13 21:03:32

I gave up around page 100. I only started on it because my sister was raving about Shardlake, and it's set a bit later it seems, so I thought I'd do it chronologically.

The style of writing owes more to a short story somehow. It just seemed kind of affected. Couldn't sympathise with anyone much and while she runs off a list of amazing talents Cromwell has, like he's some kind of Sherlock Holmes, we don't see him put much into action if I recall.

But there are plenty of others who say the same on Amazon reviews.

ProfessorDent Tue 23-Apr-13 21:05:29

Oh, virtually no lovely literary passages of description either. Sometimes I feel this is a trait of women writers (yeah, I know, but verbose passages can be a form of willy waving imo, look how great I am) but for all that Mantel doesn't offer too much psychological insight either, though there is one great passage about the shifting sands of diplomacy in the 1500s.

mrsfiddymont Tue 30-Apr-13 20:12:14

For those that didn't get on with Wolf Hall, try The Lady in the Tower, the fall of Ann Boleyn by Alison Weir.....in fact anything by Alison Weir.

JumpingJetFlash Tue 30-Apr-13 20:15:23

I found Wolf Hall much harder to get into but LOVED Bringing up the Bodies. Whole 3rd person thing took a bit to get my head round as well.

Have got tickets for RSC Bringing up the Bodies = excited!!!

instantfamily Tue 30-Apr-13 20:21:06

So glad I am not the only one.

BrienneOfTarth Tue 30-Apr-13 21:55:03

I'm also glad I'm not the only one - I'm usually a fan of historical fiction but I don't see anything prizewinning about this book. It's rather dull so far (about p120).

It took me 11 weeks to read a third of it. Realised the thought of being bored stiff reading one book for half a year was too much to endure and gave it away. Pretentious guff

TheSecondComing Thu 09-May-13 14:16:05

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

It is wonderful and you are all thick wink
Seriously, try the audiobook if the book is too much.

DuchessofMalfi Thu 09-May-13 14:59:40

I finished reading Wolf Hall last night. It took me two weeks, reading big chunks of it every day. I was determined to finish it this time, and not let it drag on too long.

Whilst there were chunks of it that I thought could have done with being edited down (sorry Hilary Mantel smile) on the whole I enjoyed reading it. It would have made a riveting 400 page novel, but was a slow going 650 pages.

Looking forward to reading Bring Up The Bodies later in the year, but I'm having a break from Cromwell's political empire-building for now.

zenoushka Thu 09-May-13 22:47:29

I've been unable to get past page 190 for the past month!

Wuldric Thu 09-May-13 22:51:15

Bring up the Bodies is easier. I gave up on Wolf Hall at the first two attempts. Was shamed into a third attempt by a friend and got there in the end.

Am currently trying the one about the French Revolution and it is MAMMOTH

I cannot help but think that Hilary Mantel needs some pruning shears. Or a braver editor

AnonYonimousBird Fri 10-May-13 10:34:55

I have the hardback sitting here, lent to me by a friend, and frankly, just looking at it terrifies me. I so want to read it, but I have lots and lots of books that I can read in the time it is going to take me to read that, ones which I am desperate to leap into, so it's been pushed back again I'm afraid....

I hate to give up before I've started, but I'd say I am several months from even opening it!

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