Saturday, April 23, 2016

Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel.

Product DetailsApparently Brits like their literature the way they like their history - very dry.  I read this book for my reading challenge - the category- a winner of the Man Booker Prize.  On the cover, the enigmatic and well known face of Anne Bolyen - the woman who truly changed the world.

This book was about the final weeks prior to Anne's fall and mockery of a trail for adultery.   The book is seen through the eyes of Thomas Cromwell, who not only assisted in Anne's rise, but was also instrumental in  her decline.  Although I'm sure that Cromwell was a fascinating person around whom much of British history revolves, one would certainly not know it from this book.

I had hoped that the book would be mostly about Anne's trial.  Other historical references have discussed Anne's defense and her oratory arguments at length.  That was also not to be found in this book.  Instead, the author saw fit to focus on the men surrounding Anne - Thomas Wyatt,  her beloved brother, George Boleyn, Mark Smeaton, Henry Norris, and Francis Weston.    The author even went on to suggest that George offered up evidence against Anne without torture.  The only man in this account who seemed to be even remotely worthy of Anne was Harry Percy, a man she is claimed to have a precontract with prior to marrying Henry.   They ( Cromwell, the king and others) forced Harry to deny this contract so that Henry and Anne could marry, then they wanted him to claim he committed perjury so that they could bastardize Anne's daughter, Elizabeth.  Percy refused.  Good for him.  In punishment, they made him sit in judgement of a woman he once loved.

Here we have one of the most fascinating characters certainly of English history and possibly in the world and the author allows her to languish and her story to be told by others.  What a pity.

Finally, I have some words about the Booker Prize and the attitude by some that British literature is so superior to American.  First I would say that I love my Tolkien, Lewis and Rowlings - that can not be denied.   But as to others,  I will take my Twain, Hawthorne, Rand, Wharton, Mitchell and more over Austen etc......

I have this book three stars because it is grammatically correct and manages to tell a story; however, I am a history buff and I had to STRUGGLE just to get through.  Chose to read it at your own risk.

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