I bought this as a hard copy book and have to admit that I couldn't wade through it. I had a difficult time with the the book being written with the subject as narrator.
I thought I might get more from the book if I listened to it - and I was right! I know understand why there were so many rave reviews of this book. The prose is truly superlative and, I believe, sets the bar very high for any future works from Ms. Mantel. She's a gifted writer.
Simon Slater was, I think, the perfect choice to narrate the book - he is a a wonderful narrator whose inflections are perfect for each character - he even manages to pull out some good female voices. I'm looking forward to hearing his voice more often.
I'm so glad that I gave this book another, audible, try
I was quite excited when this book was released because I was quite looking forward to a historical novel about Thomas Cromwell et al. I had found the "dead tree book" difficult to follow and found that I was constantly wondering (confirming) who was "speaking" at any given point. It was frustrating to me because the writing is so good - I wanted to like the book as much as I had anticipated I would. I got almost to the end of the book and gave up on it ever making sense!
I wondered if I might enjoy the story ( and be able to follow it) more by listening to it and so I gave the audible version a try. It was SO much better for me than readin the book was!. Simon Slater is a very enjoyable & gifted narrator and, through his inventive voice inflections, it was much easier to keep track of who was 'speaking'. The whole story made so much more sense to me ! I'm glad that I gave the book a second try. Ms. Mantel is a truly amazing writer - and I can now look forward to her next offering.
If you too had difficulty "getting into" this book then try the audible version - it really is worth it!
I have to laugh because when I first joined Audible years ago I really didn't think that I would like audio books. I remember confirmaing that I could cancel if I decided I didn't enjoy the books. Tsk tsk - it's been quite a few years now and I have found that I love audio books. Live and Learn.
I would agree with all the other reviewers who complain that the technically poor writing makes the book impossible to follow as an audio book. It makes you wonder if publishers ever bother to do any editing at all any more -- I suspect that they just publish whatever the author sends them, sight unseen. Add reams and reams of prolix, overwritten exposition without any real content and you have a page burner, not a page turner. I was hoping for a fascinating period piece in the style of C.J. Sansom or Umberto Eco. That may even be hidden in there somewhere, but it's just not worth the effort. Another wasted credit. This is getting repetitive...
Runner, Commuter, Dietitian with a passion for U.S. History.
This is a fantastic listen, but you really have to pay attention to keep up with the multitudes of characters, titles vs. Christian names, and what my grammar school teachers were forever correcting me for, the pronoun that could refer to multiple objects. All the same, there are frequent moments when the dialog will have you laughing, crying or shouting in your car - Mantel is a powerful writer. The sympathetic portrayal of Thomas Cromwell was especially fascinating to me since this was not the Catholic School perspective I was used to. The book requires focus and concentration to keep track of the plot and characters. I found myself having to put my MP3 player on pause in heavy traffic because I couldn't devote the mental capacity the book demanded and still safely drive the car.
I wish complex audiobooks like Wolf Hall and the Stieg Larson series came with a PDF of the characters and family trees, as is found in print editions. I longed for a map with Travels from Siberia as well and was delighted with the photos from The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind. A downloadable schematic of the cast of characters would really help chart the territory for listeners. Until then, I'm off to Barnes & Noble to peek in a copy and get myself oriented.
I guess if you are into Henry and Cromwell this might not be too bad, but it is very confusing. I don't think I will finish it. I won't get it, sorry I bought it.
Yes, it is long, yes it is literary and intelligent, so if that's what you like, you will love this AND the narrator who uses his voice not to dramatize, but to bring out character, and help immerse you in a setting that couldn't be more human and at the same more different than our own lives. I would listen to many, many more hours of Hilary Mantel's brilliant writing and Simon Slater's deft characterizations. I recommend listening to it 3 times, each time you will appreciate more.
I love Tudor fiction, history etc, so I really looked forward to listening to this book. Imagined conversations between historical persons can be very interesting but in this recording is grating and irritating. The narration is so over the top that the story gets lost. This book should have a tag that reads "Highly Theatrical Narration Like Unto Farce."
An avid reader, demanding of the story, characters and narrator. Mysteries and historical fiction are my favorites.
It was very hard to keep track of who was speaking; the timeline was too complex; this might be a good story to read but it was so convoluted that I quit before the end.
I'm appalled by some of these reviews. Perhaps your ADHD can only handle james patterson. I appreciate the attempt to better your general understanding through works of literature, if that is what your attempting, but i imagine if you rated this book less than four stars you may need to stick to those glossy paperbacks with the shallow material and the one dimensional characters. I would suggest you stick to your guns, kidnappings, murder mysteries and sex. i mean come on... i hope this review gets through. somebody's gotta say it. I'm quite tired of the real literature on this site getting besmirched by reviews with the wit, focus, concentration and understanding of a cucumber.
I have several problems with this historical fiction - it begins with the narrator whom I found to be confusing because he would adopt a stylistic voice for a character and then maintain that style for another character during a lengthy dialog. It's as if he forgot who was speaking for. My second problem is that I have read so much Tudor history, and other historical novels by Phillipa Gregory, that I can't help but compare this to The Other Boleyn Girl which gives far more insight into the political aspirations of Anne and her family. I'm just a mere reader, and I know Wolf Hall was the recipient of several prestigious awards - so maybe it was the narration because I couldn't keep the characters straight. Maybe it was the repetitious recounting of past characters/events...this was one I couldn't get through.