Another Booker On The Mantel-piece

on Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, news that Hilary Mantel just won the 2012 Booker Prize for Bring Up The Bodies has reached me as I float 39,000 feet above the sea on my way back home. I can't say the win was a surprise but it most certainly was a relief. For the second year running Team Booker have salvaged the dignity of the prize by plucking the only worthy winner from a very ordinary shortlist (yeah, you heard me, Will Self!). Granted I haven't read Bring Up The Bodies, and I didn't much like Wolf Hall, but I can certainly see why her epic Cromwell series garners such adulation from readers and prize-givers alike. Mantel's Tudor England is brilliantly realised, perhaps better than any other historical period I have ever seen in literary fiction. The spectacular marriage of historical fidelity and imagination is, to my mind, without parallel. That I didn't like the first and probably won't read the second (ah, who am I kidding? I'll fold eventually, just like I did with Wolf Hall three years on) is more just a matter of personal taste. This little bookworm don't dig the Tudors.

Nevertheless, there are many reasons to be excited about the outcome. Mantel is the first woman to win the prize twice, rounding out Booker's Holy Trinity alongside the very worthy J. M. Coetzee and the rather flukey Peter Carey. She is also the first person to win it for consecutive books, an especially noteworthy achievement given the short time between the wins. Take into account the gargantuan size of the both Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies and your jaw should be copping a few grazes as it drags along the floor. Of course there is still one more instalment to come so you might want to head down to your local bookie and place a few bucks on the hatrick today before they suspend all bets on a near certainty.


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