"Mantel Pieces was my first introduction to Hilary's work. With a striking sense of humor, this collection takes the reader through her illustrious career at the London Review of Books. From censorship in Saudi Arabia to Madonna and Sean Penn's wedding, Mantel can write about anything with wit and elegance. Her voice is clear and powerful; the authority in her language comes at you with gusto and is deeply convincing. This collection features a vast array of widely celebrated material including 'Royal Bodies', her highly controversial examination of the dehumanization and commodification of royal figures throughout history. These are subversive, heartening and often quite funny essays by one of the finest British voices working today. It felt like we were sitting together at a coffee shop and she was just telling me what was on her mind. A delight."
A stunning collection of essays and memoir from twice Booker Prize winner and international bestseller Hilary Mantel, author of The Mirror and the Light
In 1987, when Hilary Mantel was first published in the London Review of Books, she wrote to the editor, Karl Miller, ‘I have no critical training whatsoever, so I am forced to be more brisk and breezy than scholarly.’ This collection of twenty reviews, essays and pieces of memoir from the next three decades, tells the story of what happened next.
Her subjects range far and wide: Robespierre and Danton, the Hite report, Saudi Arabia where she lived for four years in the 1980s, the Bulger case, John Osborne, the Virgin Mary as well as the pop icon Madonna, a brilliant examination of Helen Duncan, Britain’s last witch. There are essays about Jane Boleyn, Charles Brandon, Christopher Marlowe and Margaret Pole, which display the astonishing insight into the Tudor mind we are familiar with from the bestselling Wolf Hall Trilogy. Her famous lecture, ‘Royal Bodies’, which caused a media frenzy, explores the place of royal women in society and our imagination. Here too are some of her LRB diaries, including her first meeting with her stepfather and a confrontation with a circus strongman.
Constantly illuminating, always penetrating and often very funny, interleaved with letters and other ephemera gathered from the archive, Mantel Pieces is an irresistible selection from one of our greatest living writers.