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Tony Grist

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Giving Up The Ghost: Hilary Mantel [Feb. 26th, 2012|08:30 pm]
Tony Grist
The first half of your life you spend collecting ghosts; in middle age you start to let them go. Breath in, pause, breath out. With any luck by the time you reach old age there won't be any of the little buggers left.

Mantel writes about her working-class childhood in Hadfield, Derbyshire and then about the illness that blighted her adult life. When she's being a child she sees things as innocently and acutely as Dickens did in the early chapters of David Copperfield; when she writes about her illness and the culpable uselessness of the medical profession she is very, very angry.

If you have a taste for Mantel's fiction this book will tell you something about the roots of her art. 
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2012-02-26 10:21 pm (UTC)
What makes you think I disapprove of her anger? She has every right to it.

What I'm saying is that Mantel and Dickens both choose- in these particular books- to tell the child's story from the child's viewpoint. The anger of the adult the child will become is implied rather than overtly stated.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2012-02-27 09:00 am (UTC)
I see what you mean. The thing is it's a book of two halves. The tone changes when she moves from childhood to adulthood. The same thing happens with David Copperfield. It's almost as though it were two quite different books that have been soldered together.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2012-02-27 10:00 pm (UTC)
There are good things in the second half- Rosa Dartle for instance- but David himself turns into a ghost of what he was and the plot becomes contrived and silly.

Great Expectations is the book David Copperfield should have been.
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[User Picture]From: endlessrarities
2012-03-04 03:09 pm (UTC)
Right. That's another one I must read!!
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