Friday, 19 October 2012

Hilary's done it again - bravo!

Hilary’s at it again. The woman’s a genius. Her parents must have been two of the world’s greatest brain surgeons. In fact, it was probably Mr and Mrs Mantel who came up with The Theory Of Relativity, and not Einstein. Our Hilary is up there with the Hilary Duffs, the Hilary Deveys and the Hilary Swanks of the world. She’s a smart Hilary.

I couldn’t help but feel a little jealous when I heard Hilary had won this year’s Man Booker prize with Bring Up The Bodies. And she received a princely sum too. I wonder what she’ll spend it on. Didn’t Anne Enright say she would use her winnings to install a new kitchen? I wonder will Hilary go for a Poggenpohl or will she take a trip to her local Ikea.

Hilary’s the first British woman to have won it twice, which is a wonderful achievement. Having blogged about the issue of age and the fact that at 37 I think I’m too old to be a novelist, I wondered if Hilary just recently taken up the quill. When I read a bit more about her, I learned that her first book had been published in the 80s, and I calculated roughly (very roughly, as I am officially rubbish at maths) that she was in her early thirties when her first book came out. I now take comfort in the fact that she’s been penning books for some time and only now is she being truly recognised for her talent. Long may it continue.

I haven’t read any of her work, simply because I’m not that into Tudor novels. In fact I’m not into them at all, if truth be told. The accolade is set to encourage people to snap up the novel, have them running into Waterstones or logging onto Amazon, quicker than you can shout ‘Cheryl Cole’s autobiography.’

I secretly wonder what those smart Booker winning type people like to read in their spare time. I bet she’s read Fifty Shades of Grey, just to see what all the hype’s about. I have this image of Hilary Mantel in her pyjamas, sitting propped up in bed, glasses perched on the end of her nose, reading a bit of Twilight. And I bet she has secret bookcases, similar to those in Scooby Doo, that spin round to reveal a completely new bookcase when people call for tea. Is she envious of E L James’ new found wealth or is she planning to write a cookery book, using a range of repulsive Tudor ingredients like pig’s navels? I realise I’m getting carried away here, so I’ll just read Hilary’s offerings for myself. The Booker people say they’re very, very good indeed.

8 comments:

Rosy T said...

You should read them AT ONCE, Gillian! They are not only soaringly ambitious (like the man at their heart!) and richly satisfying, but they are completely accessible, too, and just stonkingly good reads: darkly funny, and shot through with warmth and humanity as well as chilling intrigue, great characters you can love and root for or hate and fear, and a plot which manages to be utterly compelling even though you know what is going to happen!

Kate said...

I read BUTB - only because I was on the panel for a Booker Debate and it was the book allocated to me - but I LOVED it and can't belive I've never read any of her work before! Even thpough I've not read Wolf Hall it worked well as a standalone and Wolf Hall is definately going to have to be read now! A very well deserved win IMO!

I totally agree with Rosy about the plot! We all know in our hearts what is going to happen to Anne Boleyn but can't help hoping it won't - and that is pure testimony to the skill of the writer! As is getting us to empathise with a character like Thomas Cromwell!

Rosy T said...

I know, right? A torturer responsible for religious genocide - but we love him! Quite an achievement, that!

You MUST read Wolf Hall as well, kate. And of her others, although 'A Place of Greater Safety' (about the French Revolution) is the most like these two in scale and ambition, my own favourites are 'Beyond Black', and 'Fludd', which is a little gem.

Hayley N. Jones said...

Her work is far more wide-ranging than the Tudors! 2 books out of 13 (3 out of 14, once she completes the Thomas Cromwell trilogy) represents a tiny portion of Hilary Mantel's work. I've only read a few of her novels so far (got more lined up on my bookshelves, ready) but each one has been very well written and original. My favourite is Beyond Black - which is very different to Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies!

I'm thrilled that Mantel has become the first female double Booker winner And I hope people will explore her previous work instead of assuming she writes about only the Tudors.

Thrifty Gal said...

I think Wolf Hall is utterly magnificent and Bring Up The Bodies deserved the Booker. I can't recommend them highly enough...

Gillian McDade said...

A lot of fans here *must read Hilary asap* And thanks for the tips on her other books. I will investigate!

Maria said...

I hold my hand up, I've not read her books either, but I am very tempted now, just to see what makes her work so very special...

Entertaining post, thank you.

Derek said...

Like Maria, I've not read either book. It's great to see a positive buzz around well-established authors and for the focus to be on literary success, even if the jury is split!