I have been recommending Wolf Hall to readers impatient for the next volume of George R. R. Martin’s Game of Throne series. They share a good deal of the same source material from Tudor history, but while Martin is a good writer in many respects, especially if one disregards the language at the level of the sentence and concentrates instead on his ability to render complex human and political relationships with clarity and vividness, Mantel is a great one. She demonstrated decades ago, in A Place of Greater Safety (her 1992 novel about the French Revolution), an ability to tell large world-historical stories with the kind of imaginative precision about politics more often associated with works like Robert Caro’s biographies of Robert Moses and Lyndon B. Johnson, or indeed with the great nineteenth-century narrative historians Carlyle and Michelet.
Monday, October 21, 2013
An outtake from the wretched review that I'm still wrestling with (when they don't come out right the first time round, they often take horrible amounts of subsequent wrangling!):