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Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel
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Bring Up the Bodies (2012)

by Hilary Mantel

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Wolf Hall Trilogy (2)

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2,8842012,004 (4.31)3 / 609
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English (201)  Dutch (2)  Spanish (1)  German (1)  All languages (205)
Showing 1-5 of 201 (next | show all)
I was mildly terrified of two things when I donned my headphones and hit “play” on my iPod the first time I listened to this trilogy: (1) That I wouldn’t be able to keep all the people named Thomas straight, and (2) that Mantel’s use of “he” to mean Cromwell even if it should logically refer to someone else would leave me confused and frustrated.

Turns out neither was as bad as I’d feared! I very much enjoyed Bring Up the Bodies and its prequel. Full review is posted on Erin Reads. ( )
  erelsi183 | Oct 2, 2014 |
Beautifully written as always, but disappointing when compared to Wolf Hall. ( )
  lucypick | Sep 23, 2014 |
The sad story of Anne Boleyn has been told many, many times, but never from the point of view of the Henry VIII's favorite minister, the scheming and treacherous, Thomas Cromwell. Covering the last nine months of Boleyn's life, from September, 1535 to her execution in May, 1536, the book follows Cromwell's dilemma: how to rid Henry of his second wife who has not successfully born him a son and heir so he can try once more with Jane Seymour. This would have to be a delicate business as Cromwell had largely engineered the rationale for Henry to end his marriage to Katherine of Aragon in order to marry Boleyn, and by the fact that Katherine, although ailing, was still living.

Hillary Mantel, masterfully, completes the story she started with Wolf Hall as she tells the story of how Cromwell navigated through the minefield of his enemies to bring Boleyn up on multiple charges of treason after Katherine's timely death and the miscarriage of Anne's last child. Always sounding like the lawyer he was, Cromwell coldly and calculatingly makes his case and arrests his suspects, their confessions largely assured through his methods of "enhanced interrogation," and thus, the outcome preordained. Ms. Mantel, however, tells this story so brilliantly that you keep turning the pages as though you are reading a thriller and do not know the ending. ( )
  etxgardener | Sep 16, 2014 |
The sequel to Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall, Bring Up the Bodies explores the marriage and downfall of Anne Boleyn, and the role that Thomas Cromwell played in it. No love is lost between Anne and Cromwell. Each has an agenda to please the King. They become pitted against each other, as Cromwell seeks to find a legitimate excuse to expel her from the King's court. Cromwell, always the master politician, uses Anne's fall from grace as a chance to settle scores with old enemies. In addition, there is the quiet and demure Jane Seymour, who has now caught the King’s eye. The politics of the English court come vividly to life in this sequel. I found that the first part of the book was a bit slow (similar to my reaction to Wolf Hall), and it was difficult to keep all the characters straight, but in the end I found it a fascinating look at a chaotic time in history. One other difficulty I had was the almost stream-of-consciousness style the Mantel uses for the portions of the Cromwell narration. She does puts us inside Cromwell's legal mind, always strategizing, always remembering his butcher's son status among the gentry—but at times I found it difficult to always tell who and what was being discussed. All in all a good read. 4 out of 5 stars. ( )
  marsap | Sep 2, 2014 |
The first book was more entertaining, with a timeline covering all of Cromwell's life and rise to power, and with many characters experienced in detail: Cardinal Woolsey, Ann Boleyn, King Henry, Thomas Moore; and Cromwell's father Walter, wife Liz, daughters Ann and Grace, son Gregory, nephew Richard -- all of whose names I remember because their personalities were so richly drawn. In this second book, the world shrinks, shrinks, shrinks to almost nobody and almost nothing happening. And, it works. It works because the long stretches of boredom, along with Cromwell's tedious rationalizations and machinations, highlight the banality of evil. I don't usually enjoy books from the villain's point of view, but in the context of this actual historical event, I found it to be extremely enlightening. It could have happened like this. ( )
  read.to.live | Aug 28, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 201 (next | show all)
Here, as elsewhere, Mantel’s real triumph is her narrative language. It’s not the musty Olde English of so much historical fiction, but neither is it quite contemporary. The Latinate “exsanguinates” is a perfect 16th-century touch, and so is that final, Anglo-Saxon “gore.” In some of her books, Mantel is pretty scabrous in her descriptions of present-day England, its tawdriness and cheesiness and weakness for cliché and prettifying euphemism. “Bring Up the Bodies” (the title refers to the four men executed for supposedly sleeping with Anne) isn’t nostalgic, exactly, but it’s astringent and purifying, stripping away the cobwebs and varnish of history, the antique formulations and brocaded sentimentality of costume-­drama novels, so that the English past comes to seem like something vivid, strange and brand new.
 
Is Bring Up the Bodies better than, worse than or equal to Wolf Hall? While lacking, necessarily, the shocking freshness of the first book, it is narrower, tighter, at times a more brilliant and terrifying novel. Of her historical interpretations, Mantel says in her afterword that she is "making the reader a proposal, an offer", but what is striking is how little concerned she is with the reader. Her prose makes no concessions to the disorientated: a moment's distraction and you have to start the page again. Mantel, like Cromwell, seems not to mind if we are there or not: she is writing, as he was living, for herself alone.
 
"Mantel knows what to select, how to make her scenes vivid, how to kindle her characters."
added by bookfitz | editThe New Yorker, James Wood (May 7, 2012)
 
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.
 
Two years ago something astonishingly fair happened in the world of prestigious prizes: the Man Booker Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction for 2009 both went to the right winner. The book was Hilary Mantel’s “Wolf Hall,” and it would have dwarfed the competition any year. “Wolf Hall” was a historical novel that ingeniously revisited well-trod territory (the early marriages of Henry VIII), turned the phlegmatic villain Thomas Cromwell into the best-drawn figure and easily mixed 16th-century ambience with timeless bitchery.

Despite a hugely complicated cast of characters and Ms. Mantel’s teasing way of preferring pronouns to proper names, it wound up providing an experience of sheer bliss. It was a hard act to follow. But the follow-up is equally sublime.
added by kidzdoc | editNew York Times, Janet Maslin (May 2, 2012)
 

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Hilary Mantelprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Pracher, RickCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vance, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Willems, IneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
'Am I not like other men? Am I not? Am I not?'

Henry VIII to Eustache Chapuys, Imperial ambassador
Dedication
Once again to Mary Robertson; after my right hearty commendacions, and with spede.
First words
His children are falling from the sky.
Quotations
What is the nature of the border between truth and lies?...Truth can break the gates down, truth can howl in the street; unless truth is pleasing, personable and easy to like, she is condemned to stay whimpering at the back door.
[The Italians] say the road between England and Hell is worn bare from treading feet, and runs downhill all the way.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
"The sequel to Hilary Mantel’s 2009 Man Booker Prize winner and New York Times bestseller, Wolf Hall delves into the heart of Tudor history with the downfall of Anne Boleyn Though he battled for seven years to marry her, Henry is disenchanted with Anne Boleyn. She has failed to give him a son and her sharp intelligence and audacious will alienate his old friends and the noble families of England. When the discarded Katherine dies in exile from the court, Anne stands starkly exposed, the focus of gossip and malice. At a word from Henry, Thomas Cromwell is ready to bring her down. Over three terrifying weeks, Anne is ensnared in a web of conspiracy, while the demure Jane Seymour stands waiting her turn for the poisoned wedding ring. But Anne and her powerful family will not yield without a ferocious struggle. Hilary Mantel’s Bring Up the Bodies follows the dramatic trial of the queen and her suitors for adultery and treason. To defeat the Boleyns, Cromwell must ally with his natural enemies, the papist aristocracy. What price will he pay for Anne’s head?"-- Provided by publisher.

"Though he battled for seven years to marry her, Henry is disenchanted with Anne Boleyn. She has failed to give him a son and her sharp intelligence and audacious will alienate his old friends and the noble families of England. When the discarded Katherine dies in exile from the court, Anne stands starkly exposed, the focus of gossip and malice. At a word from Henry, Thomas Cromwell is ready to bring her down. Over three terrifying weeks, Anne is ensnared in a web of conspiracy, while the demure Jane Seymour stands waiting her turn for the poisoned wedding ring. But Anne and her powerful family will not yield without a ferocious struggle. Hilary Mantel’s Bring Up the Bodies follows the dramatic trial of the queen and her suitors for adultery and treason. To defeat the Boleyns, Cromwell must ally with his natural enemies, the papist aristocracy. What price will he pay for Anne’s head?"-- Provided by publisher.
[retrieved from loc.gov (Library of Congress)]
Haiku summary
Anne Boleyn's pride comes
Before her fall. By the end,
She's a head shorter.
(passion4reading)

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"The sequel to Hilary Mantel's 2009 Man Booker Prize winner and New York Times bestseller, Wolf Hall delves into the heart of Tudor history with the downfall of Anne Boleyn Though he battled for seven years to marry her, Henry is disenchanted with Anne Boleyn. She has failed to give him a son and her sharp intelligence and audacious will alienate his old friends and the noble families of England. When the discarded Katherine dies in exile from the court, Anne stands starkly exposed, the focus of gossip and malice. At a word from Henry, Thomas Cromwell is ready to bring her down. Over three terrifying weeks, Anne is ensnared in a web of conspiracy, while the demure Jane Seymour stands waiting her turn for the poisoned wedding ring. But Anne and her powerful family will not yield without a ferocious struggle. Hilary Mantel's Bring Up the Bodies follows the dramatic trial of the queen and her suitors for adultery and treason. To defeat the Boleyns, Cromwell must ally with his natural enemies, the papist aristocracy. What price will he pay for Anne's head?"-- "Though he battled for seven years to marry her, Henry is disenchanted with Anne Boleyn. She has failed to give him a son and her sharp intelligence and audacious will alienate his old friends and the noble families of England. When the discarded Katherine dies in exile from the court, Anne stands starkly exposed, the focus of gossip and malice. At a word from Henry, Thomas Cromwell is ready to bring her down. Over three terrifying weeks, Anne is ensnared in a web of conspiracy, while the demure Jane Seymour stands waiting her turn for the poisoned wedding ring. But Anne and her powerful family will not yield without a ferocious struggle. Hilary Mantel's Bring Up the Bodies follows the dramatic trial of the queen and her suitors for adultery and treason. To defeat the Boleyns, Cromwell must ally with his natural enemies, the papist aristocracy. What price will he pay for Anne's head?"--… (more)

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