bring up the bodies by hilary mantel
Last Updated : GMT 01:54:55
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today

Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel

London - Arabstoday

Oh, those Tudors! We can\'t get enough of them. Whole bookshelves have been filled with them, acres of film consecrated to their antics. How badly behaved they were. What Machiavellian plottings and betrayals. Will we never tire of the imprisonments, torturings, entrail-windings, and burnings at the stake? Philippa Gregory has very successfully tackled the Boleyn girls, Mary the Mistress and Anne the Aggravating. Then there\'s The Tudors, the TV series, in which church geopolitics are ably dealt with, though some of the underwear is anachronistic and Henry VIII is a dark, brooding romantic who never gets fat. This is stretching it, but makes for much better sex than if he were to wheeze and grunt and ooze from his decaying leg all over the bedsheets, as in real life. I have a weakness for the Tudors, so I inhaled Hilary Mantel\'s terrific Booker-winning Wolf Hall – the first in her series about Thomas Cromwell the Calculating and Ruthless – in almost one sitting. Now comes the aptly titled Bring Up the Bodies, which picks up the body parts where Wolf Hall left off. As the book opens, it\'s summer. Henry and his court are staying at Wolf Hall, home of the Seymours, where Henry has his piggy eye on stiff, prudish little Jane, destined to be his next queen. Thomas Cromwell is flying his hawks, named after his dead daughters. \"His children are falling from the sky,\" Mantel begins. \"He watches from horseback, acres of England stretching behind him; they drop, gilt-winged, each with a blood-filled gaze … All summer has been like this, a riot of dismemberment.\" And we\'re off, into the deep, dark, labyrinthine, but strangely objective mind of Thomas Cromwell. The historical Cromwell is an opaque figure, which is most likely why Mantel is interested in him: the less is truly known, the more room for a novelist. Cromwell rose from obscure and violent origins through a life abroad – sometime soldier, sometime merchant – to become England\'s top go-to man, the prime maker-and-breaker of fortunes and spines, secretly hated and despised, especially by aristocrats. He played Beria to Henry VIII\'s tyrannical Stalin: he did the dirty work and attended the beheadings, while Henry went hunting. Cromwell elevated reform-minded Anne Boleyn, and sided with her until she stupidly thought she could get rid of him. Then he joined with her enemies to overthrow her, which we see him doing with steely finesse in Bring Up the Bodies. He was very feared and very smart, with a capacious memory for facts and also for slights, none of which he left unavenged. While Cromwell has always had a bad press, Henry has generated mixed reviews. His early life was golden – Renaissance prince, sportsman, composer of poems, sprightly dancer, the glass of fashion and the mould of form, and so on – but he became increasingly despotic, bloodthirsty, rapacious, and possibly crazy. Charles Dickens, in his quirky A Child\'s History of England, has no use for him, calling him \"a most intolerable ruffian, a disgrace to human nature, and a blot of blood and grease upon the History of England\". In his later years, says Dickens, Henry was \"a swollen, hideous spectacle, with a great hole in his leg, and so odious to every sense that it was dreadful to approach him\". It\'s a 21st-century sport for doctors to weigh in on what exactly was wrong with Henry: it used to be thought he had syphilis, but diabetes now appears to be winning out. That, and possibly a brain injury from his jousting accident – an accident that causes Cromwell to lose his cool, since if Henry dies without an heir there will be civil war. Whatever else the Tudors did, they brought peace to England, and peace is what Cromwell works for. That, for Mantel, is one of the more praiseworthy motives for all the bloodletting that Cromwell engineers. Peace rests on a stable king, and in that respect Cromwell has his work cut out. Already by the book\'s beginning Henry is beginning to fade, swell, and drool; his paranoia is growing, and the Plantagenets are plotting in the shrubbery. Cromwell sees this with precision and clarity, as he sees everything. He\'s a very self-aware narrator, and does not spare himself his own unwavering view, as when he appraises the portrait Hans Holbein has painted of him, \"his dark purposes wrapped in wool and fur, his hand clenched around a document as if he were throttling it\". His own son tells him he looks like a murderer, and other portraitists achieve a similar effect: \"Wherever they begin, the final impact is the same: if he had a grievance against you, you wouldn\'t like to meet him at the dark of the moon.\" But he also has corners of tenderness, and sees these in others: he\'s deep, not merely dark. And through him we experience the texture of how it feels to be sliding into a perilous dictatorship, where power is arbitrary, spies are everywhere, and one wrong word can mean your death. It\'s a reflection, perhaps, of our times, when democracies appear to be slipping back into the dungeon-filled shadowland of arbitrary power. Cromwell\'s main opponent, Anne Boleyn, is as wilful and flirtatious as she usually is in fiction, but by the time of her death she has shrivelled to \"a tiny figure, a bundle of bones\". Is she more to be pitied than blamed? Not by Cromwell: \"She does not look like a powerful enemy of England, but looks can deceive … If her sway had continued, the child Mary might have stood here; and he himself … waiting for the coarse English axe.\" Anne knew the rules of the power game but she hasn\'t played well enough, and she has lost. And, for the time being, Cromwell has won. The ambiguous Cromwell is a character who fits Mantel\'s particular strengths. She\'s never gone for the sweet people, and is no stranger to dark purposes. Beginning with smaller canvases – novels set in present-day England – she moved to widescreen historical fiction with the masterful A Place of Greater Safety (1992), featuring the major actors of the French revolution as well as a large supporting cast and its twisted interactions. She relies on the same talent for intricacy in Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies. There are a lot of people lurking around in Henry\'s court, all of them on the make or trying to sidestep the axe, and helping the reader keep track of them is a special craft. Historical fiction has many pitfalls, multiple characters and plausible underwear being only two of them. How should people talk? Sixteenth-century diction would be intolerable, but so would modern slang; Mantel opts for standard English, with the occasional dirty joke, and for present-tense narration much of the time, which keeps us right there with Cromwell as his plots and Mantel\'s unfold. How much detail – clothes, furnishings, appliances – to supply without clogging up the page and slowing down the story? Enough to allow the reader to picture the scene, with lush fabrics and textures highlighted, as they were at the time. Mantel generally answers the same kinds of question that interest readers in court reports of murder trials or coverage of royal weddings. What was the dress like? How did she look? Who really went to bed with whom? Mantel sometimes overshares, but literary invention does not fail her: she\'s as deft and verbally adroit as ever. We read historical fiction for the same reason we keep watching Hamlet: it\'s not what, it\'s how. And although we know the plot, the characters themselves do not. Mantel leaves Cromwell at a moment that would appear secure: four of his ill-wishing enemies, in addition to Anne, have just been beheaded, and many more have been neutralised. England will have peace, though it\'s \"the peace of the hen coop when the fox has run home\". But really Cromwell is balancing on a tightrope, with his enemies gathering and muttering offstage. The book ends as it begins, with an image of blood-soaked feathers. But its end is not an end. \"There are no endings,\" says Mantel. \"If you think so you are deceived as to their nature. They are all beginnings. This is one.\" Which will lead us to the final instalment, and to the next batch of Henry\'s wives and Cromwell\'s machinations. How much intricate spadework will it take to \"dig out\" Cromwell, that \"sleek, plump, and densely inaccessible\" enigma? Reader, wait and see.

arabstoday
arabstoday

Name *

E-mail *

Comment Title*

Comment *

: Characters Left

Mandatory *

Terms of use

Publishing Terms: Not to offend the author, or to persons or sanctities or attacking religions or divine self. And stay away from sectarian and racial incitement and insults.

I agree with the Terms of Use

Security Code*

bring up the bodies by hilary mantel bring up the bodies by hilary mantel

 



Name *

E-mail *

Comment Title*

Comment *

: Characters Left

Mandatory *

Terms of use

Publishing Terms: Not to offend the author, or to persons or sanctities or attacking religions or divine self. And stay away from sectarian and racial incitement and insults.

I agree with the Terms of Use

Security Code*

bring up the bodies by hilary mantel bring up the bodies by hilary mantel

 



Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today Jordanian woman reveals her project

GMT 00:46 2017 Saturday ,11 November

Jordanian woman reveals her project
Arab Today, arab today Air China suspends flights to North Korea

GMT 10:39 2017 Thursday ,23 November

Air China suspends flights to North Korea
Arab Today, arab today Sophian Yussef reveals suitable decoration

GMT 02:56 2017 Thursday ,23 November

Sophian Yussef reveals suitable decoration
Arab Today, arab today Syria opposition meets in Riyadh

GMT 06:23 2017 Thursday ,23 November

Syria opposition meets in Riyadh
Arab Today, arab today Jordanian journalist happy of her career

GMT 17:37 2017 Thursday ,23 November

Jordanian journalist happy of her career
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today Human form of 'mad cow' disease

GMT 00:11 2017 Friday ,24 November

Human form of 'mad cow' disease
Arab Today, arab today Srebrenica women cry tears of joy

GMT 08:03 2017 Thursday ,23 November

Srebrenica women cry tears of joy
Arab Today, arab today Delhi half-marathon to go ahead

GMT 03:51 2017 Saturday ,18 November

Delhi half-marathon to go ahead
Arab Today, arab today The history of solar eclipses

GMT 05:16 2017 Sunday ,20 August

The history of solar eclipses
Arab Today, arab today 'Robo-taxis' hold promise, and perils

GMT 08:07 2017 Thursday ,23 November

'Robo-taxis' hold promise, and perils
Arab Today, arab today Honda recalls 800,000 minivans

GMT 11:43 2017 Wednesday ,22 November

Honda recalls 800,000 minivans
Arab Today, arab today Abeer Sabry reveals reason of “The Flood” success

GMT 08:03 2017 Tuesday ,21 November

Abeer Sabry reveals reason of “The Flood” success
Arab Today, arab today paObama climate envoy slams Trump's rejection

GMT 16:04 2017 Friday ,17 November

paObama climate envoy slams Trump's rejection

GMT 07:56 2017 Monday ,20 November

Singer Jahda Wahba has unlimited ambitions

GMT 02:14 2017 Saturday ,18 November

May under Brexit pressure at EU reform summit

GMT 18:41 2017 Friday ,20 October

Designer Aql Faqih aspires to innovation

GMT 11:38 2017 Wednesday ,15 November

Unloved vultures fight for their survival

GMT 17:52 2017 Sunday ,03 September

Etiquette expert underlines importance of gifts

GMT 10:43 2017 Wednesday ,22 November

Cigar-shaped asteroid came

GMT 09:45 2017 Tuesday ,21 November

Visit Jamaica for more than just sun

GMT 17:12 2017 Monday ,07 August

Al-Shawaifi reveals secrets of total solar eclipse

GMT 16:53 2017 Tuesday ,05 September

Youssra depended on colored foam
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
 
 Arab Today Facebook,arab today facebook  Arab Today Twitter,arab today twitter Arab Today Rss,arab today rss  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday
بناية النخيل - رأس النبع _ خلف السفارة الفرنسية _بيروت - لبنان
arabstoday, Arabstoday, Arabstoday