Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher: Stories by Hilary Mantel

The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher: Stories by Hilary Mantel --- 242 pages

Hilary Mantel is known to American readers as the two-time Booker Prize-winning British author of the historical novels Wolf Hall and its sequel Bring Up the Bodies, which retell the story of Henry VIII and his marital travails but unusually, from the perspective of Thomas Cromwell, more usually portrayed by historians and novelists as a villain and opportunist.

But Mantel is the author of twelve other books that preceded Wolf Hall, with a literary reputation well established in Great Britain, and this latest collection of short stories is an example of her ability to unravel the smooth surface of our comfortable assumptions about ourselves and poke at the skeletons buried in the muck underneath.

The title story of this collection of short stories has caused some furor in England. One peer of the realm has gone so far as to call for police to investigate Mantel for "admitting she wanted to assassinate Thatcher."  Mantel suggests dryly that it might be difficult for the police to bring charges against an author for creating a fictional character who, in a story set over thirty years ago, wants to assassinate a controversial public figure who --- in real life --- died last year (of natural causes).

Click HERE to read an article about the furor over Mantel's story and HERE to read an article about her response.

Click HERE and HERE to read two British reviews of Mantel's book. Click HERE to read the New York Times review and HERE to read the Chicago Tribune review.

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