Short Stories assassination mantel

Published on September 22nd, 2014


The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher by Hilary Mantel

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Blurb: Whether set in a claustrophobic Saudi Arabian flat or on a precarious mountain road in Greece, these stories share an insight into the darkest recesses of the spirit. Displaying all of Mantel’s unmistakable style and wit, they reveal a great writer at the peak of her powers. (Fourth Estate, September 2014)

Other books by the author | Read an extract on the Guardian website

Theo Tait, The Sunday Times 

Admirers of Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies may miss the lavish scenery and stylistic richness of those novels. Instead, they’ll find a dingy, claustrophobic world, described in a visceral, blackly comic idiom. Mantel’s depiction of a cheap hotel is horrifically evocative, with its “turd-coloured” candlewick bedspread, its “travellers’ stench” — “tar of ten thousand cigarettes, fat of ten thousand breakfasts, the leaking metal seep of a thousand shaving cuts, and the horse chestnut whiff of nocturnal emissions”. It all adds up to an exhilarating, if dark, collection.

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James Lasdun, The Guardian

“‘Like everything else in the book, ”The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher – August 6th 1983″ has an engaging sprightliness, and the situation it contrives – of a captive woman who shares her captor’s loathing for the Iron Lady, almost to the point of being willing to trade places with him (“You go and make the tea and I’ll sit here and mind the gun”) – is full of comic as well as serious possibilities. The problem is that so much of the story’s energy goes into the elaborate mechanics and metaphysics of its counterfactual plot that the actual animus against Thatcher, when it comes out, seems rote and under-imagined.”

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Janet Maslin, The New York Times

“Neither Wolf Hall nor Bring Up the Bodies is the Hilary Mantel book most relevant to The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher, her new volume of short stories. Instead, the germane book is her 2003 memoir, Giving Up the Ghost. That book describes a woman who is passive, illness-plagued and spooked. The narrators of these stories are much more like Ms. Mantel’s description of herself than like the ironclad Machiavellians who dominate her Thomas Cromwell trilogy-in-progress.”

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Robert Collins, The Guardian

“At worst, these stories read like outmoded tales of the unexpected. The best, however, come infused with Mantel’s almost lush evocations of isolation and distress.”

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