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Hobic Saudi Arabian flat or on a precarious mountain road on a Greek island these stories share an insight into the darkest recesses of the spirit Displaying all of Mantel's unmistakable style and wit they reveal a great writer at the peak of her powe Hilary Mantel had written many books among them two long historical novels which both have won the Booker Prize Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies making her one of the few authors to win the Booker twice and the only woman to do so I can t speak about them as I haven t read them yet but when I saw this collection I thought that it was finally time to get acuainted The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher is Hilary Mantel s second collection of short stories in total and first in eleven years Most of these stories have been published before in various places the eponymous one being the most recent Though they all have female protagonists the stories themselves vary greatly in theme and setting The opening Sorry to Disturb which is set in Saudi Arabia and focuses on a female foreign narrator who tries to shun a persistent local man as she feels and encircled by him The Heart Fails Without Warningis the story of a continuous decline of a young anorectic as observed by her rude and unsympathetic sister How Shall I Know You is about a slightly neurotic English writer travelling across the country to a small town where she is to give a reading and the young woman that she meets at a local hotelThe titular story obviously attracted the most attention as it was chosen to give the volume its name understandably so as probably no other British politician has attracted such strong and divided reaction There were many people in Britain who wanted to off the Iron Lady during her reign and this story features one of them an IRA assassin and a wealthy woman connected by their loathing for the Prime Minister She not only allows him to use her house as a sniping post but also gives him advice as to how to properly stage it as a break in and not leave any trail and asks him to tie her up next to the window so she can see all the action in its gory detailI thought that the last title story would be my favorite but it wasn t my favorite turned to be included pretty early in the volume Comma the second story is about two young girls from different backgrounds who both from sort of a friendship as they spy on a neighboring family and their unusual baby Mantel invokes a perfect sense of nostalgia and youth and the only complaint it is way to short I could easily have read a whole novel about these girls and wanted to know much about them how they d grown up and how their lives would turn out to be Unfortunately this complaint can be extended to almost all of the stories in this collection the endings are way too sudden and unsatisfying and I was mostly left unaffected and in the case of Comma disappointed that they were already over Hilary Mantel can write very well but I don t think that these stories necessarily show her at her best form I think I would like to read her when she feels no constraint of form and can write and develop both characters and structure and plot as long as she wants Which I guess is the perfect motivation for me to finally get around to reading her novels and now I m interested in not only the historical ones

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The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher

HILARY MANTEL is one of Britain's most accomplished and acclaimed writers In these ten bracingly transgressive tales all her gifts of characterisation and observation are fully engaged ushering concealed horrors into the light Childhood cruelty is pla She lives on the fumes of whiskey and the iron in the blood of her prey The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher Mantel Seriously anytime I fantasize about writing a book I read a Hilary Mantel novel and become discouraged Reading Mantel is like watching Michael Jordan play basketball or Federer play tennis or back in the day watching Tiger Woods play golf Unless you are born blind or stupid you realize that these people just don t exist on the same field or plane as the rest of humanity No matter how many swings shots or hits I practiced I could never play at the level of those masters No matter how many books I read or words I write my brain recognizes that Mantel s skill with a sentence is almost superhuman She is elegant and strong She doesn t waste a word Her prose seems to float with a bold efficiency and beauty that is hard to balance It is like watching a ballerina kick Mike Tyson s ass And I haven t even got to the fact that she can choke you with emotion and knock you out with a surprise twist and well played verbal throw down The normal laws of gravity and axioms of art do not apply to Mantel s prose Her words float Her sentences run forever Mantel DOES not fuck around with the English language She owns it Read her novels or her stories and she will sit on your chest and own you too

Hilary Mantel ✓ 4 review

Yed out behind the bushes in 'Comma'; nurses clash in 'Harley Street' over something than professional differences; and in the title story staying in for the plumber turns into an ambiguous and potentially deadly waiting gameWhether set in a claustrop I read this for a mixture of rather weak reasons 1 I was out for the day and unexpectedly finished the book I had with me so went to a second hand charity bookshop2 I didn t want to start a novel as I had a meaty one waiting at home short stories seemed ideal3 I relished the shock of my mother when I told her what I was readingIt was a reasonably varied and diverting collection but I won t be rushing to read another Mantel A couple have dashes of magical realism and there s a nod to the vogue for vampires A couple would be exciting and rewarding with titles that weren t spoilersUNSAVOURYAlthough I don t share my mother s visceral horror at the title of the collection the overwhelming feeling was one of unpleasantness In particular there were many snide asides about class and race In some cases they were perhaps appropriate for the time place and characters who uttered them but that doesn t apply to How Shall I Know You Overall for stories published in 2014 I was left with a nasty taste in my mouthSHATTERED AND UNSEEING UNINVITED GUESTSEvery one of the ten stories features something that is not seen or should not be seen I ve included a uote for each and most had glass shattered in a dramatic way The first and last stories have a woman alone in a flat who has an unexpected and potentially sinister visitor And a character in another story is Mr Simister I could get profound about this but I didn t really care enough to go beyond noticing these recurring ideasTHE STORIESSorry to DisturbSet in Saudi Arabia in 1983 and apparently somewhat autobiographical An expat wife has been made helpless by the society around me so is effectively confined to her housing block making it hard to close the door on the persistent but not entirely welcome Pakistani man of uncertain motives She s on medication that causes occasional hallucinations the title refers to the doorbell but also her state of mind Even after all this time it s hard to grasp exactly what happenedAs a woman one was always observed without precisely being seen Invisibility was a sign of respectCommaThe eight year old narrator and forbidden friend Mary aged 10 and from a less respectable family go exploring in a lazy hot summer In particular there is a rich family s house with a secret The final page has a flurry of gratuitous punctuation analogies to match the titleHiding in a bush she looked straight at us but did not seeThe Long TThis opens He was forty five when his marriage ended decisively and he s at a party snogging a neighbour But the marriage doesn t end the way you might expect her eyes had already glazedWinter BreakA controlling husband very anti children takes an annual winter holiday with his wife This has a twist but it s flagged rather too obviously for my tasteA taxi driver turning to reverse the car stared past her unseeingHarley StreetNarrated by a disaffected meeter and greeter at a Harley Street clinic it was like a sub Alan Bennett monologue Patients look right through me but when the patients come in I seem to see straight though them to the boneOffences Against the PersonA teenager is working at her father s law firm alongside his mistress DullHis eyes passed over me but he didn t seem to see meHow Shall I Know YouThis seems heavily autobiographical An author reluctantly accepts an invitation to speak at a small literary society in the 1990s She doesn t have a good word to say about anywhere or anyone observing her audience many had beards including the women She prefers to go without an evening meal than risk an additional encounter with literary society membersShe repeatedly comments on the yellow skin of a girl who works at the guest house and mentions three female authors for no obvious reasons Rowling Byatt and Brookner On a lighter note when asked about her literary influences I replied with my usual list of obscure indeed non existent Russians and another time invented a Portuguese writer I didn t look her in the face embarrassed about giving a generous tipThe Heart Fails Without WarningSisters aged 11 and 14 the elder of whom has anorexia The whole household enmeshed in multiple deception a father who busies himself with work and was no than a shadow in their lives a mother who thinks a full length mirror will help a sister jealous of the attention and a school who wants her to stay away because it has a competitive ethos and fears mass fatalities if the other girls decide to competeWhen she looks in a mirror God knows what she seesTerminusI saw my dead father on a train is a good opening After that it s dull despite potentially intriguing uestions is experience always in the pastI had happened to see a thing I should never have seen and his look was turning inwardsThe Assassination of Margaret ThatcherThis tries to be provocative profound and funny with thoughts of alternative history and alternative reality History could always have been otherwise It didn t really deliver for meHe had not looked at me before not to see meWhen she comes out of the eye hospital will she be able to seeNeither in nor out of the house visible but not seenUOTES I closed the door discreetly and melted into the oppressive hush I spent two hours with my neighbour widening the cultural gap I admired these diaspora Asians their polyglot enterprise the way they withstood rebuffs and I wanted to see if she was Western or Eastern or what Eating out was a gesture than a pleasure without wine and its rituals there was nothing to slow it Furniture is frolicking in the dark The hottest summer that bleached adults of their purpose each day a sun like a child s painted sun burned in a sky made white with heat Laundry hung like flags of surrender from washing lines Her face in early middle age had become indefinite like wax waiting for a pinch and a twist to make its shape She did not like parties that involved open doors Strangers might come in wasps It was too easy to stand on the threshold neither here nor there A tiny chime hung in the air as the glasses shivered in her fingers the glass exploded She sunk into the shards as smoothly as if they were satin as if they were snow and the limestone gleamed around her an ice field each tile with its swollen pillowed edge each with a shadow pattern faint as breath We dress for the weather we want as if to bully it even though we ve seen the forecast He drove very fast treating each serve of the road as a personal insult She could feel Phil s opinions backing up behind his teeth A bed of geraniums so scarlet as if the earth had bled through the pavements I saw Guardsmen wilting in symmetry Having been a brittle person she became flexible by taking up yoga when her husband left An area where the dustbins had wheels but the cars were stacked on bricks A face of feral sweetness A polytechnic is for those who were bright enough to say affinity but still wore cheap nylon coats


10 thoughts on “The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher

  1. says:

    Oh what a nice surprise I didn't expect her to be funny Sly wit and careful attention I must read

  2. says:

    “She lives on the fumes of whiskey and the iron in the blood of her prey” The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher Mantel Seriously anytime I fantasize about writing a book I read a Hilary Mantel novel and become discouraged Reading Mantel is like watching Michael Jordan play basketball or Federer play tennis or back in the day watching Tiger Woods play golf Unless you are born blind or stupid you realize that these people just don't ex

  3. says:

    In those days the doorbell didn't ring often and if it did I would draw back into the body of the house Only at a persistent ring would I cre

  4. says:

    I read this for a mixture of rather weak reasons 1 I was out for the day and unexpectedly finished the book I had with me so went to a second hand charity bookshop2 I didn't want to start a novel as I had a meaty one waiting at home; short stories seemed ideal3 I relished the shock of my mother when I told her what I was readingIt was a reasonably varied and diverting collection but I won't be rushing to read another Mantel A couple have da

  5. says:

    The title alone should be enough to give a reader pause not to mention the cover of a headless woman holding a dead rose an indication that we haven't hopped on the Love Train Hilary Mantel's collection of ten taut

  6. says:

    If you're into stuff like this you can read the full reviewReality behind the surface Literature The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher by Hilary MantelThis is my first Mantel I’ve been postponing reading the first two volumes of the Cromwell trilogy waiting for the third volume to come out predictably in 2016 One does not tackle a twice awarded writer with the Man Booker Prize without having everything in one big bu

  7. says:

    Mantel eerily observant and wickedly funny is a strange combination of self conscious fear and lashing wit Faced with her p

  8. says:

    This started out as a 4 or perhaps even 5 star book but dwindled down to three stars in the endI love Hilary Mante

  9. says:

    Hilary Mantel had written many books among them two long historical novels which both have won the Booker Prize Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies making her one of the few authors to win the Booker twice and the only woman to do so I can't spe

  10. says:

    The only disappointing thing I can see about this book is that the title isn't true

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