Wolf Hall is a fascinating book for various reasons. there is Cromwell himself. Mantel created a character that reads as a fully rounded individual that subtly enters your life and charms you beyond reason. Then there is the writing. This is also a novel that has a language of its own – this is perhaps the most overtly Bakhtinian novel ever written. It is not only the multiplicity of characters with their own voices, but also how these voices echo each other and echo the history/stories we have all read. It is also the seamless way the author shifts from the first person to third person narrators who are sometimes omnipresent and sometimes as constraint in their knowledge as we readers are. It is the way in which the first person narrator sometimes presents his own thoughts and actions and sometimes slips on his guard and gives us ‘direct’ access to his thoughts.
It is a book that grows on you at each page, each paragraph, each sentence, each word…I’m starting to think this is one of the best books I have ever read. Thanks for the gift Ed!
Mantel, H. (2009) Wolf Hall. London: Fourth State.