Friday, July 4, 2014 |
Hilary Mantel's historical fiction is as popular as it is critically acclaimed. She was the first woman ever to win the Man Booker Prize twice: first in 2009 for Wolf Hall and then again in 2013 for its sequel Bring up the Bodies. The novels are a fictionalization of the life of Thomas Cromwell. The third book in the series is set to come out in 2015.
Type Books owner Jo Saul believes that if you like Mantel, you'll love another book based on a historical figure: Louis Riel: A Comic-Strip Biography by Chester Brown. She stopped by The Next Chapter to explain why:
Why Bring Up the Bodies is so popular:
Bring Up the Bodies takes place over a short period of time, just nine months. It's basically the downfall of Anne Boleyn. What Hilary Mantel is able to do is take this period of time and really only focus on the three weeks leading up to the trial and the trial itself and show this intense period through the eyes of Thomas Cromwell. He's working on so many levels. Mantel humanizes him and give us this version of him that explains why he goes after this so avidly, why he has this revenge fantasy. But we also see him as a father and we see him as a friend and we see a more human side of him. She makes us care so much about this character that has been vilified over the years. The way Hilary Mantel is able to reconstruct him historically is really fascinating.
Why Hilary Mantel fans will love Chester Brown's Louis Riel:
Louis Riel was executed for high treason and it was a similar British law that allowed Anne Boleyn and, later, Thomas Cromwell to be executed. But that's not all. Thomas Cromwell is this misunderstood character in British history and I don't know a more controversial character in Canadian history than Louis Riel. I think they have that in common. Both of these authors are looking at history as a way into these characters. Yes, they are telling these national histories, but they are exploring characters as well. Louis Riel is a lightning rod for so many issues in Canada. There are so many different ways of viewing him. These are all things Chester Brown is interested in.
Jo Saul's comments have been edited and condensed.
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