HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel
Loading...

Bring Up the Bodies (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Hilary Mantel

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
2,9632051,934 (4.32)3 / 621
Member:dirkverbruggen
Title:Bring Up the Bodies
Authors:Hilary Mantel
Info:Fourth Estate (2012), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 432 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:historical novel

Work details

Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel (2012)

Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

English (206)  Dutch (2)  Spanish (1)  German (1)  All languages (210)
Showing 1-5 of 206 (next | show all)
This is the second in a series of book about Thomas Cromwell, a mover and shaker in Henry VIII’s court, although not a nobleman. Powerful, and increasingly rich, but not yet a ‘sir’. Anyone with any sense calls him sir unless they are filthy rich and with Lordships or better going back generations. This episode is all about Anne Boleyn, Henry’s second wife. You remember: divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived. Just remember the order the women came in!

I found the book hard to get into, then I realised that I needed to settle down in proper reading mode – comfy chair, good light, give myself an hour or two to immerse myself. It was good for me to read like that – I don’t often do it. I had been a little put off by the family tree charts at the front, looking at them and thinking, “I’ll never remember all these people.” Although the charts can be handy, I found I didn’t need them. The flow of the writing, the reminders of positions and relations, are all included in the flow of beautiful words.

Beautiful words.

I found myself transported into 1535 as if it was a modern world. As in, everywhere about me was contemporary Tudor England. Many historical novels still leave you as an onlooker; this had me in there, smelling the ordure of the streets, wondering what the news would be next day. In some ways, reading A Christmas Carol a month ago, and marvelling at the description I quoted in my review of that, prepared me for Hilary Mantel’s wonderful descriptions.

I know I should have marked them at the time, but I search the book for some examples: I can’t find any more ordinary ones, or should I say extraordinary ways of describing the ordinary. These two stand out. Death and Truth (which I was so struck by that I remembered it all the way through).

"You should not desire, he knows, the death of any human creature. Death is your prince, you are not his patron; when you think he is engaged elsewhere, he will batter down your door, walk in and wipe his boots on you." (p.162)

"What is the nature of the border between truth and lies? It is permeable and blurred because it is planted thick with rumour, confabulation, misunderstandings and twisted tales. 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." (p.190)

I found the application of such truth in Thomas Cromwell’s tale an overwhelming insight into the justice of the time, of the tale. Much later Thomas asks himself (or the reader) “Were they guilty? Yes, but maybe not as charged.” The manipulation, the half-truths, the finding of evidence to support the required result are as relevant today as they ever were. So I found myself immersed in this story.

There is a stylistic element of the book one needs to grasp early, and it continued to elude me for a long time. ‘He’ is Cromwell. You may be in a paragraph with Cromwell and five others, but if ‘he’ does something, then it is Cromwell who is being referred to. The book has a single focus. It’s third person narrative but entirely from Cromwell’s point of view. Once I’d got used to this I found the author writing ‘He, Cromwell’ more often than I needed.

There is no way I can do justice to this book in a review. I’m so glad my bookclub chose it, since I wouldn’t have tackled it otherwise, and I nearly gave up on it after 50 pages. After 75 I was hooked, but realised I needed to wrap myself up in it, partly so as not to forget who’s who. I have trouble with that these days. Reading it finally over three days, I had no trouble knowing who was who, even when a single person has three different names (surname, title name and ceremonial post). I recommend it. I will read more Hilary Mantel.

( )
  Jemima_Pett | Nov 11, 2014 |
I found Wolf Hall hard work, so I wasn't in any hurry to read this sequel to it, but unless I'm misremembering, I found this one more engaging. Perhaps because it's somewhat shorter, and also because it's focused on a much tighter period of time, just a year or so. ( )
  queen_ypolita | Nov 9, 2014 |
Second book in the Wolf Hall trilogy

After seven years of tribulation, Anne Boleyn finally triumphed and became the queen of England, but after two years on the throne she is once again in jeopardy. King Henry VIII’s attention has strayed to Jane Seymour, a quiet and demure woman who is fiery Anne’s opposite in nearly every way. Thomas Cromwell was once Anne’s greatest ally, and together they labored to gain her a crown. Now, Cromwell faces the greatest challenge of his career: removing Anne from power without being destroyed himself.

Thomas Cromwell is almost always portrayed as a very ambitious man willing to anything to win, and while streaks of this still appear in his personality it’s considerably downplayed in Hilary Mantel’s novels. For example, his practice of torturing men to extract confessions is dismissed as rumor – the most Mantel’s Cromwell does is frighten a young musician half to death by locking him in a room overnight, not stretching him on the rack or gouging out an eye. As much as I like this new version of Cromwell, part of me wonders if he isn’t perhaps a little too cleaned up, too whitewashed of sins.

If anyone comes across as monstrous, it is the king. Cromwell has figured out that the way to survive at Henry’s court is to give the king what he wants, so when Henry hints that he wants to be rid of Anne Boleyn, all of Cromwell’s efforts go to figuring out a way to have her removed. All of his lawyer’s skill for finding loopholes is turned to this problem. Other characters point out that just as Henry turned against Anne, he may one day turn his back on Cromwell, but Cromwell’s confidence seems to rise with every page. As long as he continues to anticipate Henry VIII’s desires, which he is certain he can do indefinitely, he is safe.

Hilary Mantel’s style of writing is very immediate. While reading, you are entirely in Cromwell’s head. It is almost as if the whole book is a dream in which the reader lives Cromwell’s life – it’s that absorbing and encompassing.

As a sequel to Wolf Hall, Bring Up the Bodies is outstanding. It would also standalone remarkably well. That is, you don’t need to have read the first book in order to follow the second one’s plot. But you should. Wolf Hall takes you deeply into Cromwell’s world and greatly enhances the new story, making it nearly impossible to put down. ( )
  makaiju | Nov 2, 2014 |
Bringing Up the Bodies is the second of Hilary Mantel's Thomas Cromwell trilogy. Wolf Hall was the story of Anne Boleyn's rise to power as she replaced King Henry VIII's first wife, Catherine of Aragon. But Anne failed to provide Henry with a male heir and lost the king's favor. This novel is the story of how Anne is replace by Jane Seymour.

I listened to the audio version, read by Simon Vance. This had advantages and disadvantages. Because of Hilary Mantel's unusual writing style, I found it difficult at times to know who was speaking. Vance helped me there, by providing different voices to different characters. But audio books keep moving forward, especially if you are listening while driving, and I think I might have gotten more out of the early sections of the book if I had taken additional time with them. But after the accusations and the trial began, the book held my attention without fail.

This is Anne's story, written from Thomas Cromwell's point of view. Cromwell is the king's master secretary, which means he's a bit like the consigliere in The Godfather. He's told what to do and he does it no matter what it takes. For example, he has to interrogate Henry Percy, the Earl of Northumberland, who had an early relationship with Anne. He forces him to adjust his story depending on the king's need to have it known that Anne was either not married previously or married previously.

The issue of Anne's guilt or innocence is interesting. Is she guilty of adultery or just an inability to give the king a living, male heir? And if she was guilty of adultery was she forced into the situation because she didn't believe she would give birth to a boy unless someone other than the king shared her bed?

A good example of the case against Anne occurs in the following excerpt. This is Henry speaking:

Cromwell, what does it mean when a woman turns herself about and about in the bed, offering herself this way and that? What would put it into her head to do such a thing?

There is only one answer, “Experience, Sir, of mens' desires and her own.” He does not need to say it.

Another aspect of this story I found interesting was that Thomas Cromwell seemed to be entirely consumed with the task of dissolving one of King Henry VIII's marriages and arranging another. I wondered who was working on the rest of the government's business. In many ways his priorities remind me of the priorities of our current congress. I wonder where Cromwell would be if he was alive today.

Bringing Up the Bodies is a good read for people with an interest in English history. The scenes feel authentic. The writing is beautiful, although a little hard to follow at times.

Steve Lindahl – author of Motherless Soul and White Horse Regressions ( )
  SteveLindahl | Oct 25, 2014 |
In this second volume of Hilary Mantel's trilogy, Thomas Cromwell comes across as an even more complex character than in Wolf Hall in that here his ruthless streak is revealed as he pursues a personal vendetta against men he perceives to have wronged his old master, Cardinal Wolsey, in the name of serving King Henry VIII. A naturally imposing figure, he strikes terror into the souls of his enemies without needing to resort to threats or violence. Again Hilary Mantel's prose brings all the characters to colourful life, so that you feel certain parts of dialogue or facts must be based on surviving documentary evidence. Both books (and no doubt the third as well) will certainly benefit from repeated readings to coax out every nuance and hidden layer. I still feel that there could be other ways to circumvent the somewhat clumsy use of male personal pronoun when there is a need to clarify as to who is referred to (he: Cromwell), as this jarred a little in a text that was otherwise fluid. I have no doubt the final volume will prove equally fascinating. ( )
  passion4reading | Oct 23, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 206 (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
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
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.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

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)

No descriptions found.

(see all 2 descriptions)

"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)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 12 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
1 avail.
1083 wanted
6 pay10 pay

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (4.32)
0.5 1
1 1
1.5 1
2 13
2.5 3
3 73
3.5 37
4 294
4.5 141
5 353

Audible.com

2 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

See editions

LibraryThing Early Reviewers Alumn

Bring Up The Bodies by Hilary Mantel was made available through LibraryThing Early Reviewers. Sign up to possibly get pre-publication copies of books.

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 94,384,627 books! | Top bar: Always visible