I've finally managed to start reading Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel (winner of the Man Booker prize in 2009). I am overcome by admiration of her power as a writer. Historical novels are very difficult to do successfully. Usually they fall into the trap of letting the research show; just a little too much detail, on pretty much anything - furniture, clothing, food - is enough to give the game away. But not here. Her style seems astonishingly plain and direct, yet is full of complexity - very like her central figure (as she imagines him), Thomas Cromwell, as he skilfully negotiates the shifting, deadly tides of Henry VIII's court while the king tries to rid himself of Katharine and marry Anne. None of the film or TV sagas based on that perennially fascinating era can hold a candle to this brilliant book. But it does, of course, demand commitment and concentration of a kind that may be threatened by the very different reading environment of the internet. I don't want to live in a world where books like this are no longer written, or scarcely read. Still, right now they continue to be acclaimed.
This Piece of Earth: a year in my New Zealand garden
Harvey's memoir, now available as an Awa Press e-book - click on the cover to see how to buy it.
MY FOOD BLOG
Click on the lemons to go to Something Else To Eat
At my book launch - Lois Daish, me, Mary Varnham of Awa Press. Click on the photo to go to the book's Facebook page.
Harvey's last anthology, These I Have Loved: My favourite New Zealand poems, published by Steele Roberts, was launched on 10/10/2010. To see what Beattie's Book Blog has to say about it, click on the cover.
"I read for pleasure and that is the moment I learn the most." — Margaret Atwood