Obituary: Booker Prize winner Hilary Mantel honored for ‘Wolf Hall’ trilogy

Hilary Mantel, the novelist who has died aged 70, has succeeded in her Wolf Hall trilogy in restoring Tudor statesman Thomas Cromwell to the center of public consciousness in an act of revival. literature is hailed by critics as so powerful that it borders on the strange.

the relationship between Mantel and Cromwell has led some observers to judge it as something more symbiotic than the relationship between author and character: indeed, she lives in him so vividly that more than one judge. Wolf Hall suggest her to be his incarnation. Both come from working-class families but have succeeded in reaching the heights of their careers.

When Wolf Hall Published in 2009, it received such a fervent reception that bookmakers claimed it was the closest book ever certified dead to win the Booker Prize – which it duly did. . As the second episode in the trilogy, Bring up the agency (2012), also successful in making Booker, Mantel set the record as the first woman to win the award twice and the first author to win with a sequel. The pressure on her to achieve success with the trilogy’s compilation is said to explain the long gap before publication in 2020. Mirror & the light generally considered not quite the quality of its predecessors, but still a remarkable and refined work by any other standards; When it comes to Booker, however, it goes no further than the long list.

She was born Hilary Mary Thompson in Glossop, Derbyshire, on 6 July 1952, the daughter of Henry Thompson, an office worker, and his wife, Margaret.

In line with future Tudors chronicles, she soon learned of the possible complications of marital relations when her mother moved her lover, Jack Mantel, into her own home and her father was put in an empty room. .

After years of living as a “ghost” in the house, her father moved out when she was 11 years old and she never saw him again. To avoid scandal, she and her two younger brothers took the surname of Mantel and were asked to introduce themselves to the world as his children. At 18, she began studying law, but dropped out after marrying Gerald McEwen, a geologist, when she was 20.

Instead, she became a social work assistant in a geriatric hospital, and when that happened, she worked as a shop assistant in Manchester. At the time, she was in constant pain from a seemingly undiagnosed condition.

In 1977, her husband was offered a job in Botswana, where she worked as a school teacher. Told by many doctors that her illness was caused by the mind, she diagnosed herself with endometriosis after reading through the medical books in the university library in Gaborone.

Returning to England on leave of absence in 1979, she presented the results of her research to the doctors and, after some objections on their part, proved correct: she found herself undergoing an examination. emergency surgery to remove her uterus, ovaries and part of her intestines. Her condition affected her marriage, and in 1981 she and her husband divorced, only to reconcile and remarry the following year.

Although she seemed austere and reserved at first meeting, she was greatly loved in the literary world. She has a fascinating bad taste in puns: a collection of her 2020 essays is already titled Mantel Pieces.

Mantel was appointed CBE in 2006 and DBE in 2014. Her husband is still alive. Obituary: Booker Prize winner Hilary Mantel honored for ‘Wolf Hall’ trilogy

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