Thursday, April 15, 2010

Wolf Hall (Hilary Mantel)

As good as everyone says it is. I usually finish good books in one sitting, but this is so richly written that you have to read it in short bites.

So effective is its re-imagining of the past that when they showed Holbein pictures on University Challenge recently, I found myself hissing at More (previously a hero of mine because of 'A Man for All Seasons') and cheering Cromwell (Henry's feared enforcer).

The Emperor Claudius tends to get a more sympathetic reading than he deserves because of 'I, Claudius', and I think that, in the same way, she'll have completely changed the view of Cromwell for future generations, just because history students will have this book's portraits already in the mind when they come to look at the evidence, and confirmation bias will do the rest.

Can't wait for 'Thomas Cromwell the God', although I can't imagine that things will end any better for our hero than they did for poor old Claudius.

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