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A Place of Greater Safety by Hilary Mantel

A Place of Greater Safety (original 1992; edition 1993)

by Hilary Mantel

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1,139477,185 (4.05)431
Title:A Place of Greater Safety
Authors:Hilary Mantel
Info:Atheneum (1993), Hardcover, 749 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:no safety anywhere, read 11-12

Work details

A Place of Greater Safety by Hilary Mantel (1992)

Recently added bymitchn, tifhayes, paulkinnersley, Matt_B, thingol, jwk, mambo_taxi, private library, cadolph, geckolisa
  1. 11
    Ninety-Three by Victor Hugo (bibliothequaire, rebeccanyc)
    rebeccanyc: Hugo and Mantel both create fiction: Hugo's is closer to the passions of the time and more philosphical, involving largely fictional character; Mantel's more distanced and historical. Hugo's novel deals with the counter-revolution in the Vendée, with a detour to Paris; Mantel's with the leaders of the revolution in Paris.… (more)

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English (46)  Dutch (1)  All (47)
Showing 1-5 of 46 (next | show all)
Loaded with political intrigue and manoeuvres but also so well-placed in the midst of everyday life, here Pre-WolfHall Mantel - having already perfected her special brand of historical fiction which injects realistic fiction into historical facts and humanises the historical figures - recounts the French Revolution through the lives of three men: d'Anton, Desmoulins and Robespierre. Needless to say, it is absolutely enthralling and brilliant.

The amount of details and research that must have gone into this book makes my catch my breath every breath. Despite not knowing anything about the French Revolution beforehand, Mantel's precise and stylistic historical conjectures make the reader feel like they are not missing anything at all. In fact, they are living in the moment where the dates and events - which otherwise remain just that when read in a typical history book - become part of your everyday life, the significant intersecting with the mundane - and anything can happen next (although that was probably a consequence of my complete ignorance).

My favourite aspect of the novel is the dialogue, everybody is so extra ready with their comebacks and one-liners, including Mantel herself in the descriptions sometimes. Take, for instance, a sentence from her opening paragraph, The New House smells of resin and wax polish; it has the sulphurous odour of family quarrels brewing.

A must-read for fans of Mantel impatient for the release of the sequel to Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies.

Aside: Mantel's Camille is my spirit French revolutionist. ( )
  kitzyl | Apr 29, 2017 |
Mantel is a fantastic writer and for any fan of historical fiction this would be a fascinating read. ( )
  essjay1 | Jan 11, 2017 |
So I had to read this for a challenge and I have to say that this book challenged me.. Every page of it..While this is not a bad thing it certainly had me thinking throughout the entire book.

I loved the characters and I actually liked the story I just thought that there was way too much packed into this story and I believe that it would have been better somehow if the characters would have had their own stories or books.

It was a good book and I liked it.. Enough said.

( )
  Angel.Carter | Aug 11, 2016 |
I really enjoyed this and despite it's length I found it a really quick read.

I'm not sure about the description on the back of Robespierre as terrified of violence, if that was true then he certainly overcame his fears. ( )
  KarenDuff | Jun 1, 2016 |
I came to this book knowing very little about the French Revolution and by the end I was kind of obsessed with it. The description and characters are so vivid and the confusion and madness of Paris during the revolution is captured wonderfully. The main characters (Danton, Robespierre and Desmoulins) are complex characters and my opinion of each of them evolved during reading. There are some excellent, interesting female characters too. The writing is clear, witty, descriptive, informative. ( )
  AlisonSakai | Apr 16, 2016 |
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Hilary Mantelprimary authorall editionscalculated
Keeble, JonathanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Clare Boylan
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Now that the dust has settled, we can begin to look at our situation.
Burning is not answering (Camille quoting Rousseau)
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Haiku summary
Robespierre, Danton
And Desmoulins: children of
The revolution.
Regicide, mayhem,
Chaos. The revolution
Devours her children.

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0312426399, Paperback)

As 19th-century novelists Alexandre Dumas and Charles Dickens both discovered, the French Revolution makes for great drama. This lesson has not been lost on Hilary Mantel, whose A Place of Greater Safety brings a 20th-century sensibility to the stirring events of 1789. Mantel's approach is nothing if not ambitious: her three main characters, Georges-Jacques Danton, Maximilien Robespierre, and Camille Desmoulins, happen to have been major players in the early days of the revolution--men whose mix of ambition, idealism, and ego helped unleash the Terror and brought them eventually to their own tragic ends. As Mantel points out in her forward, none of these men was famous before the revolution; thus not a great deal is known about their early lives. What would constrain the biographer, however, is an open invitation to the fiction writer to let the imagination run wild; thus Mantel freely extrapolates from what is known of her protagonists' personalities and relationships with each other to construct their pasts.

This is a huge, complex novel, but the author has done her homework. Though Danton, Robespierre, and Desmoulins are at the center of her story, they are by no means the only major characters who populate the novel. Mantel uses historical figures as well as fictional ones to provide different points of view on the story. As she moves from one to the next, her narrative voice changes back and forth from first to third person as she sometimes grants us access to her characters' deepest thoughts and feelings, and other times keeps us guessing. A Place of Greater Safety is a happy marriage of literary and historical fiction, and a bona fide page-turner, as well. --Margaret Prior

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:58 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

With A Place of Greater Safety Hilary Mantel makes her American debut in a dazzling and magisterial novel about one of the most crucial - and shattering - events in modern history, the French Revolution. Already acclaimed in ber native England, this hook should provoke an equally enthusiastic response from readers on this side of tbe Atlantic. At the center of this bold epic are three men who led the revolt against the tyrannies and injustices of the Ancien Regime: Georges-Jacques Danton, an ugly, ambitious, and charismatic spokesman; Maximilien Robespierre, slight, precise, wishing to do good for others; and their friend, Camille Desmoulins, an inveterate conspirator pamphleteer, and seducer (obsessed for years by a married woman, he eventually marries - he's not sure how - her daughter). Three young men of obscure origins from the provinces, all make their way to Paris, where, in 1787, they will be presented with - and will seize - the opportunity to transform their world. Surrounding these men are their friends, their families and lovers, as well as the famous figures and events that Mantel has so brilliantly depicted...Louis XVI and his decadent court, Mirabeau and Marat, the Marquis de Lafayette and the Marquis de Sade, Saint-Just and Choderlos de Laclos, the Committee of Public Safety, the Mountain, the Gironde, the Sans-culottes and Dr. Guillotin's machine. Having unleashed the forces of revolution in the name of liberty and happiness, Danton, Robespierre, and Desmoulins will become witnesses to, participants in, and, eventually, victims of an uncontrollable escalating spiral of rage and need, terror and violence. An audacious, informed, and encompassing portrayal of the genuine achievements and the harrowing tragedy of the French Revolution, Hilary Mantel's A Place of Greater Safety is fiction on a grand scale and in the grand tradition.… (more)

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