Tag Archives: Anne Boleyn

The Hung Over, Part II

FA Bodies

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I never watched The Hangover: Part II. I loved the original movie deeply, but was told by multiple sources that the second was a trudging, shot-for-shot remake of its predecessor, and what had been so charming and fresh–even in the tired genre of drunk buddy films–lost its appeal with repetition. So with that in mind, let me be the first to ever say: The closest I’ve come to watching  The Hangover: Part II was  reading Hilary Mantel’s Bring Up the Bodies.

Bodies was the 2012 Booker Prize winner and one of my most anticipated reads after loving, deeply, its 2009 Booker Prize winning predecessor, Wolf Hall. But throughout the novel, I consistently felt as if I’d seen this all before, and that what had been so engaging in the first go round–even in the tired genre of historical fiction–was less so with repetition.

This is not to say that Bring up the Bodies is not worth your time, or anywhere near as bad as the second Hangover was rumored to be. Continue reading

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In the News: Wolf Hall Sequels

THE GUARDIAN UK IS REPORTING that Hilary Mantel is writing not one but two sequels to her Booker Prize winning “Wolf Hall.”

Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall, her dazzling, utterly absorbing invention of the inner life of Thomas Cromwell, will have not one sequel, as expected, but two. Mantel is now planning a Tudor trilogy: a new novel, Bring up the Bodies, to be published by 4th Estate in May 2012, will focus on the downfall of Anne Boleyn; and a third book will keep the title the author had already announced for the sequel, The Mirror & the Light, and will continue Cromwell’s story until his execution in 1540.

It was roundly agreed that “Wolf Hall” was excellent, including here at TPB.  It’s kind of like a real life “Game of Thrones.” And though it’s no longer available for trade, winter is coming, and along with it, the holidays.  Put it on your list, or treatyoself and get it today for whatever traveling you have to do.

Our original (short) review below.

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Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
Mantel earned the Booker Prize with this one.
Status: Currently seeking reader

“WOLF HALL” IS ALSO SET IN ENGLAND, but takes place roughly 450 years prior to “Black Swan Green.” Henry VIII is pushing through his divorce and remarriage via (re)formation of the Church of England, a process largely overseen by his unlikely adviser, Thomas Cromwell. Despite being at the center of this British lit, Cromwell’s story feels distinctly American: the poor son of an abusive father, he rises to the King’s court through cunning and aptitude. He is respectful but unbowed by title, humane in his judgments and progressive in the democratization of faith that enables King Henry to have what he wants. (N.B: This interpretation may have to do with my current reading on Alexander Hamilton, another impoverished, polymath upstart who found himself the closest adviser to the head of state during another time of tumultuous change.) The story’s episodic structure and the fact that so much happens offstage keeps readers at arm’s length from Cromwell, who is nevertheless an engaging and sympathetic not-quite-narrator.  The effect is important to the overall effort, but is difficult for Mantel to sustain over 600 pages. That’s the worst thing I can say about this book, the second-worst being that when I finished I felt instantly like I needed to read it again right away.

Do you want to trade paperbacks?

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