BRITISH AUTHOR CHALLENGE DECEMBER - MANTEL & WODEHOUSE
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Details of her work can be seen here:
I will read :
Bring Up the Bodies
Details of his prodigious output can be seen here:
I will read:
Very Good, Jeeves
I read Place of Greater Safety earlier this year. I will let you get started before I say anything about it. Just remember - it is historical fiction - and with historical fiction the reader knows how the story is going to end.
Very Good, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse
I purposely chose Wodehouse for December for an enjoyable wind-down to the year and I was not disappointed.
I am always worried that his writing will read as dated but it remains timeless. The eleven stories here all are marked by PG in his characteristically deft strokes. Bertie remains a fool, all the more brilliantly exposed by narrating the tales himself whilst Jeeves invariably comes to the rescue appearing always to throw Wooster further in the soup in the process.
Great fun; no sex (as such), no violence (as such) and no coarse language; a genuine slice of a better, if madcap, world.
Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel
With this novel Hilary Mantel became the first lady to win the Booker Prize on two occasions and it is hard to dispute her right to have done so on a reading of this.
I think this is a more accessible work than its predecessor but not necessarily a superior work of literary fiction. Written in a curious but effective not quite first person but not third person style, we can see the somewhat opportunistic and reluctant machinations of Cromwell as they develop. It is very interestingly pointed out and may hit an historical bulls-eye that it also contained a settling of accounts with those assisting in the demise of Cardinal Wolsey to who Cromwell was indebted.
Henry is pictured as pliable, friable and decidedly unstable with a coldness of purpose towards his lustfully selfish ends that chills even from the remove of almost half a millennium. Anne out schemes and over-reaches herself and her incredulity at the suddeness of her demise and the web she is caught in is wonderfully achieved.
Despite knowing the fate awaiting our main protagonist in the projected last part of the trilogy, we look forward to see how Mantel manages to takes us to that end and whether she can bag three-in-a-row Bookers in so doing.
That's the problem with historical fiction - we know how the story ends. And if somebody is writing about a person or event, it most often ends badly.
"You wrong me, relative. Except at times of special revelry, I am exceedingly moderate in my potations. A brace of cocktails, a glass of wine at dinner and possibly a liqueur with the coffee- that is Bertram Wooster."
-The Code of the Woosters
Thanks, to the BAC, I am finally reading my very first Wodehouse and I like it. I am not sure if this is the best place to start with him but it was available at the library, in an Everyman's Library edition.
I've read this one before, but was once again surprised to at how much I enjoyed it considering the amount of cricket that is being played and discussed. I wouldn't know a googly if I was struck by one*, but I found Wodehouse's descriptions of the games as thrilling as a James Bond car chase.
*I am actually so ignorant of cricket that I'm not even sure if a googly is something that could strike a person.