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Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel
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Bring Up the Bodies (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Hilary Mantel

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
4,0622681,250 (4.32)3 / 754
Member:tiffin
Title:Bring Up the Bodies
Authors:Hilary Mantel
Info:Harper Collins
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:Modern English Lit., Writing by Women, Historical Fiction

Work details

Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel (2012)

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English (271)  Dutch (2)  Spanish (1)  German (1)  French (1)  All (276)
Showing 1-5 of 271 (next | show all)
Thomas Cromwell, a man of modest genes had risen to the highest position in the land, gaining natural and man-made enemies along the way. Cromwell demonstrated a penchant for getting anything done, no matter the cost. Henry VIII has tired of Ms. Boleyn and her non-ability to produce a male heir. He begins to woo Jane Seymour, a lady in waiting to Anne and tells Cromwell that he wants Anne gone. Cromwell makes inquiries among the ladies and gentlemen who are close to Anne and hears more and more rumors that she has been adulterous. The musician Mark Smeaton and Anne's sister-in-law, Lady Rochford, are particularly helpful in spying for Cromwell. He determines to build a case against Anne and succeeds in doing so. Cromwell is very revengeful and also implicates those who had his friend and colleague, Cardinal Woolsey, put to death. Cromwell is made a baron for this "job" and the story is continued in the third book of the trilogy. ( )
  tess_schoolmarm | Jun 17, 2017 |
Writing a review for a sequel is a bit harder: you can’t spoil too much for readers that haven’t read the previous book, and there’s the danger of just repeating oneself if the books are similar.

None of that in this review of Bring Up The Bodies – the much-lauded sequel to the equally lauded Wolf Hall, Hilary Mantel’s historical novel about the rise of Thomas Cromwell, the troubles surrounding Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, and the downfall of Thomas More.

Spoiling stuff is not a problem, as most people are familiar with the most famous story of 16th century Tudor reign. Book 1 ended with the execution of Thomas More, and this book will end with the execution of Anne Boleyn: it’s even out in the open on the back cover.

And I won’t be repeating myself when I discuss the core ideas of this book, as it’s way different in scope and focus.

(...)

While Wolf Hall could be read as part Bildungsroman, part philosophical novel about the clash between the old and modernity, Bring Up The Bodies is very much a courtroom drama about alleged sex crimes, or better, a brutal investigation of a post-truth society obsessed with sex & power & canon law.

(...)

The show trials, their judicial aspects and the sophistry involved achieve a strange doubling effect. Both the accusers and the accused talk and act like actors on a stage, saying things they know not to be true, yet both we as contemporary witnesses and the public in the novel too aren’t always fully in the know. This results in something like a play within a play, fiction within fiction. But as these events did happen in reality, and the subject matter of Bring Up The Bodies is non-fictional, we experience some strange double hybrid between truth and lies while reading these passages: the lies told are truths at the same time: historic, historical, and judicial truths.

(...)

Please read the full review on Weighing A Pig ( )
  bormgans | Apr 26, 2017 |
Somehow even better than Wolf Hall--funnier, more biting, and yet bleaker too. I definitely missed Simon Slater's performance at first, but came to love Simon Vance's version of the characters just as much. ( )
  Soroka25 | Mar 9, 2017 |
Absolutely chilling sequel to Wolf Hall, this novel details the time between summer 1535 and May 1536, when Henry decides to rid himself of Anne Boleyn, and Cromwell gets the deed done. Gripping novel, but sheesh, was it dark. ( )
  jalbacutler | Jan 10, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 271 (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.
 
Geen gehijg tussen de lakens in Bring up the bodies (Het boek Henry), geen hete kussen bij maanlicht. Toch is Hilary Mantels versie van de perikelen van de Tudors de meest opwindende ooit.
 
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.
 

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Hilary Mantelprimary authorall editionscalculated
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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