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The Mirror and the Light


chuntzy
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The current lockdown was an ideal opportunity for me to read this very long novel. I had read the first two of the trilogy (Wolf Hall etc) and I  knew how good the writing was. 

Even when you know the inevitable ending you are so engaged with Thomas Cromwell's multifaceted life.  His occasional reminiscences of his young life in Putney and the bad treatment by his thug of a father are sometimes more vivid than the complexities of religion and politics in that era but that is inevitable.  It is not a soap opera that Hilary Mantel has written.

 

 

 

 

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Just started and straight away your absorbed and taken along with the world of Thomas Cromwell. Like Chuntzy says. you really have to read the first two Booker winning novels before you start this. We all know the ending but gonna love getting there :)

In these horrible times I think reading a book really helps. Stay safe all of you :)

 

 

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 16/04/2020 at 23:36, Clavain said:

Just started and straight away your absorbed and taken along with the world of Thomas Cromwell. Like Chuntzy says. you really have to read the first two Booker winning novels before you start this. We all know the ending but gonna love getting there :)

In these horrible times I think reading a book really helps. Stay safe all of you :)

 

 

 

But I do think it was overlong. A less esteemed writer would have been trimmed?

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On 11/05/2020 at 02:28, chuntzy said:

 

But I do think it was overlong. A less esteemed writer would have been trimmed?

 

I think that happens a lot and I find it very frustrating.  Everyone needs a good editor, but successful writers just don't seem to recognize it.

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I loved reading Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies, but I am finding The Mirror and the Light far harder going than the first two.  I regret the fact that we are now told when Cromwell is speaking, which we were not in Wolf Hall.  It was not easy to pick this up at first, but once I did, I felt more 'with' Cromwell.  In this book, I find the indication of Cromwell speaking slows the read, which in turn makes my reading of the novel much slower than the other two.  In fact I have been reading it almost since the start of the pandemic and still have a little way to go.  Having said all that, I have really enjoyed seeing the world through Cromwell's eyes.  I have loved the dialogue because it brings it down to the every-day more often than not and through the dialogue the other characters have shone and evolved.  I will finish it, but it may take another week or so.

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Well, I finally finished reading this third book in the trilogy, but to be honest, I could have done with some severe editing of the narrative.  Yes, it was informative. Yes, it did make the mores of the time graphic, but I think there was a little too much emphasis on Cromwell's past, which we all knew very well from the first two books, and some excessive descriptions of everyday events that became very repetitious.  Perhaps some of this negativity is due to the size of the book, which made it difficult for me because it is so heavy.  As a consequenc3e I was not able to hold it for long.  Because of this fact also, I could not read huge chunks of the book as I might have done otherwise.  However, it was a great ending to the trilogy in terms of winding down Cromwell's popularity and influence as he aged and so did King Henry.  As a whole, the trilogy is a masterpiece in terms of viewing a version of history through the eyes of Cromwell and for that reason I loved it.

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  • 9 months later...
On 16/09/2020 at 17:38, chuntzy said:

It appears that our reservations above were shared by the Booker Prize judges as it didn't get to the shortlist.

I am not surprised, the author didn't get the Booker Prize for this third book in the series (although it was longlisted) because I have the feeling, Hilary Mantel was dreading it as much as the reader did.

I also thought there was too much repetition, especially in the beginning. She might have wanted to bring everyone back into the story or she might have wanted us to see how Cromwell relived Anne Boleyn's execution but it was a tad too much.

Also, I missed a timeline and a character list at the end of the book to see who was who and what else happened at the same time.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I'll admit to not having finished this yet. I raced through the previous two but this is so wordy that I just don't have the urge to pick it up. Also I know what happened to Cromwell and having lived with him through the other two books I'm rather reluctant to go there.

 

 

 

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