Join us to discuss Hilary Mantel's Bring Up The Bodies, our September Book of the Month, Wednesday 26 September, 9-10pm

(139 Posts)

Our September book club choice, BRING UP THE BODIES, is shaping up to be The Book of 2012. It is Hilary Mantel's electrifying, pageturning second volume in her planned trilogy of Tudor novels, voiced by the master manipulator Thomas Cromwell. A sequel to the Booker Prize winning WOLF HALL, the story starts with Cromwell at the height of his power and influence, and Anne Boleyn beginning to lose hers. It is a fabulously famous story, yet Mantel manages to make it entirely new and fresh. Reading such expertly written historical fiction is a double delight: there are fascinating factual tidbits of Tudor life alongside brilliantly imagined inner workings of the mind. As Anne's world falls apart and the court struggles with the manic unpredictability of Henry, Mantel sustains heart-thumping suspense, even though the outcome is familiar to us all. But most gripping is the slow steady burn of Cromwell's character: an entirely bewitching, strangely seductive, Machiavellian, anti-heroic, self-made man. Mantel's abstracted narrative style, half observing from afar, half inside Cromwell's head, is a miracle: highly original, beautifully descriptive and entirely real. This is an exceptional, wonderful, revolutionary, exhilarating book that you deeply miss once finished. What a relief to know that another one will be on its way.

The book of the month page with more detail about Bring Up The Bodies is now live. You can also get a Kindle edition or a hardback copy of the novel here

We are thrilled that Hilary will be answering questions about BRING UP THE BODIES, her previous novels and her writing career in an emailed Q&A. So please put all your questions up here by 15 September, and we will send them on to Hilary. We'll publish Hilary's answers and discuss the book amongst ourselves on Wednesday 28 September, 9-10pm.

Hope you can join us...

Windsock Tue 31-Jul-12 22:39:14

Oh boo. Love Hilary. Used to teach with her BIL but hate historical novels.

Devora Tue 31-Jul-12 22:42:21

Fantastic! I absolutely loved Wolf Hall, and already have Bring up the Bodies on my kindle, waiting to be read as soon as I've finished Capital.

My dp did a writing course with Hilary Mantel some years back, and said she was a brilliant teacher and very kind smile

Devora Tue 31-Jul-12 22:43:07

Really, Windsock? I love them. When I was little I wanted to be Jean Plaidy when I grew up - she seemed to me the height of sophistication grin

Windsock Tue 31-Jul-12 23:04:49

No. Fact. OR fiction for me

Devora Tue 31-Jul-12 23:10:25

grin I feel like that about science fiction. I just want to argue with it the whole time.

ShadeMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 01-Aug-12 10:35:03

The Sept Book of the Month page is now live (and will remain open for 24 hours). Head on over for a chance to win a copy of Hilary Mantel's Bring up the Bodies.

aristocat Wed 01-Aug-12 10:38:27

yes please, hope I get one smile

GhouliaYelps Wed 01-Aug-12 20:17:28

all done here's hoping!

NoraHelmer Wed 01-Aug-12 20:46:38

Me please. Fingers crossed.

porridgelover Wed 01-Aug-12 22:04:05

I already bought and read this as I loved Wolf Hall. This one is slightly less difficult to read (or else I am grown used to her style).
I loved it and cannot wait for the next one...

ShadeMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 02-Aug-12 10:57:22

The 50 copies have now gone. We'll be pulling names out of a hat and sending them over to the publishers ASAP.

Don't forget to post your questions for Hilary by 15 Sept so we can get the answers back in time for our book club discussion on Wed 28 Sept.

aspinall Fri 03-Aug-12 10:02:23

Do you think you need to have read Wolf Hall in order to understand Bring Up The Bodies, or would it be alright to read as a stand alone novel?

Titchyboomboom Sat 04-Aug-12 22:09:06

Wooohooo I adore historical novels and particularly Tudor! Yeehaaaa!

flickor Mon 06-Aug-12 11:45:56

Loved both of these books.

In terms of research did Hillary go back and review the primary sources - how did she get inside the head of Thomas Cromwell ?

Does Hillary think that Jane Seymour is more intelligent than we are lead to believe ?

Dozer Mon 13-Aug-12 22:01:56

Oooh, how exciting! I don't read many historical novels but loved this, and love the title.

Q It is a sympathetic, even romantic portrayal of Thomas Cromwell, do you think of him as a basically good character? Why did he appeal to you?

Q The novels show the terrible position of rich women at the time, eg traded by their families. Was it hard to write about this without being either cold or obviously indignant?

Aspinall, you need to read Wolf Hall first IMO.

KurriKurri Wed 22-Aug-12 12:44:03

Got my free copy today - I'm chuffed to bits, I'd forgotten even entering for one grin - and I'll be back from holiday by mid. Sept. so can read it while I'm away and then join in the discussion. Brilliant smile

aristocat Wed 22-Aug-12 13:04:28

mine came today too smile I also had forgotten about it, but it was impeccable timing as I had finished a book yesterday!

jennylindinha Wed 22-Aug-12 16:46:07

I got my free copy today too! I'd completely forgotten about entering the competition and I'm chuffed to have won something for once! Many thanks Mumsnet, I am really looking forward to reading it. smile

GeraldineMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 23-Aug-12 09:55:29

Oh good, was just starting to fret about where those books had got to.

Please come and post any questions or comments you have for Hilary Mantel by 15 September.

Hope you enjoy it. smile

OatyBeatie Fri 24-Aug-12 22:06:37

I really enjoyed both Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies. Cromwell's combination of urbane humanity and growing ruthlessness was compelling, Henry and Anne's characters were fascinating too, and I loved the writing as much as the characterisation.

I struggled with two things though. One was the enormously conspicious "he, Cromwell" device -- your decision never to refer to Cromwell simply by name but instead always with the third-person pronoun, clarified where necessary by the addition of the name.

Was this done in order to keep the camera close to his person -- to keep the book always more intimately present with him than with other characters? It seemed such a costly way of achieving this: the repeated "he, Cromwell" became a little intrusive, and there were quite a few instances where you used "he" alone in contexts where its meaning was ambiguous between Cromwell and another character. This made me think that you might have had other, very powerful motives for using the device, motives that justfied its costliness. And one of the ways the book held my interest was by making me ask myself again and again what those motives might have been.

So I'd be very grateful if you could say a little bit about your decision always to refer to your central character as either "he" or "he, Cromwell," and never simply as "Cromwell."

Well, I received a copy of "Bring up the Bodies" in the post last week and was also completely bewildered about where it had come from! Had totally forgotten the competition as well! grin

Hullygully Mon 27-Aug-12 20:42:00

Dear Hilary

I have read all of your books.

I am in awe, admiration and wonder at your writerliness.

That is all.

Hullygully Mon 27-Aug-12 20:44:53

Oaty - just read your comment/question. I assumed the addition of "he" etc was in response to the carping about the plethora of Thomases in Wolf Hall and alleged "challenging" narrative style?

StanleyAccrington Tue 28-Aug-12 16:40:50

ooh, I loved Wolf Hall, and am a few pages in to Bring Up The Bodies.

I find it amazing that I am so gripped by a story whose ending I already know to some degree, given the basis in fact. Was it more challenging writing a novel where you are constrained by history, or was it easier having the parameters clearly defined from the outset?

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now