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Giving Up the Ghost: A Memoir by Hilary…

Giving Up the Ghost: A Memoir (2003)

by Hilary Mantel

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Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
not very engaging ( )
  mahallett | Jun 1, 2016 |
This brief but moving memoir is difficult to write about, because one starts thinking Mantel is writing about her experiences with the supernatural, but its concluding pages are very personal. It took courage to write this, and considerable effort . ( )
  nmele | Apr 15, 2016 |
Mantel's is the kind of writing which leaves you thinking why bother with your own scribbles. She is so good. The ghost of her stepfather flickers on the first page, then a hundred pages in we are alerted to the apparition seen in the garden at the age of six or seven; this is the ghost which haunts the rest of her memoir: "I am writing in order to take charge of the story of my childhood and my childlessness; and in order to locate myself, if not within a body, then in the narrow space between one letter and the next, between the lines where the ghosts of meaning are." She remembers the people she knew including her family and her "best friend" who was mean to her, the Catholicism of her early years, her confused little person thoughts, games played by name and the size, color and story of many classic books. She recalls every place she has lived and the pains of marital breakups and moving. She writes about her grueling medical history with just enough detachment and wit that you can keep reading and marvel at her metaphors: "I have been so mauled by medical procedures, so sabotaged and made over, so thin and so fat, that sometimes I feel that each morning it is necessary to write myself into being..." And after a diagnosis finally arrives. "I am a shabby old building in an area of heavy shelling, which the inhabitants have vacated years ago." Her descriptions can be reread over and over: On their first marital lodgings: "We couldn't get the stately family wardrobe upstairs, so it stayed down, its fine mirror reflecting the flickering of the silverfish as they busied cheerfully about their lives." It is the work of a master writer.
2 vote featherbooks | Jan 1, 2015 |
This book is truly a Gem! As a person who can remember my own past from an age before I could talk, I could totally relate to the child, Hilary. Also, having raised a precocious child, I could so see parallels.

What a difficult life Hilary Mantel has endured, and what a gift she has given the world with her books! ( )
  elsyd | Sep 1, 2014 |
She does write beautifully, but the part of the book that was really astonishing was the quarter or third that relates her major illness and its consequences. It's simply extraordinary that she wrote anything in those circumstances, and it went on for decades. An inspiration. ( )
  Matt_B | Aug 17, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Mantel, Hilaryprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wymark, JaneNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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[poem] "Sharecropper's Grave" Judy Jordan
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It is a Saturday, late July 2000; we are in Reepham, Norfolk, at Owl Cottage.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0007142722, Paperback)

From the double Man Booker Prize-winning author of 'Wolf Hall', a wry, shocking and beautiful memoir of childhood, ghosts, hauntings, illness and family. 'Giving up the Ghost' is award-winning novelist Hilary Mantel's uniquely unusual five-part autobiography. Opening in 1995 with 'A Second Home', Mantel describes the death of her stepfather which leaves her deeply troubled by the unresolved events of her childhood. In 'Now Geoffrey Don't Torment Her' Mantel takes the reader into the muffled consciousness of her early childhood, culminating in the birth of a younger brother and the strange candlelight ceremony of her mother's 'churching'. In 'Smile', an account of teenage perplexity, Mantel describes a household where the keeping of secrets has become a way of life. Finally, at the memoir's conclusion, Mantel explains how through a series of medical misunderstandings and neglect she came to be childless and how the ghosts of the unborn like chances missed or pages unturned, have come to haunt her life as a writer.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:42 -0400)

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"In postwar rural England, Hilary Mantel grew up convinced that the most improbable of accomplishments, including "chivalry, horsemanship, and swordplay," were within her grasp. Once married, however, she acquired a persistent pain that led to destructive drugs and patronizing psychiatry, ending in an ineffective but irrevocable surgery. There would be no children; in herself she found instead one novel, and then another."--www.Amazon.com.… (more)

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