I am struggling to get through the story. Wolf Hall is the first audio book that I am having trouble following the story line. The plot seems to go off on many tangents. Boring!!!!
As hard as I tried, which meant delving into this book on two different occasions. As well as purchasing both the written and audio versions, hoping that listening, rather than reading would bring sense to this book. It did not. The storyline jumps from different periods of time in Cromwell's life and different characters with little, or no, warning. The author's language is often over the top. My mind wandered so much that it became more and more difficult to follow the story line.
I purchased this book based on the fact that I find this period of history fascinating and it's an award winning book with decent reviews. Obviously, from the reviews this book is appealing to some readers. I'm just not one of those readers. I have always read a book to the end, whether I'm a fan or not - until now. I'm always hoping it will bring me in at some point. I finally gave up at 75% into Wolf Hall.
HM's writing is unengaging and quite tedious. The narration was good.
The one right after I stopped.
Angry that it won something. Disappointed in Man Booker.
And so did the second one?
Every time I resumed the story, I felt as though I was simply continuing a journey. History can be brought back to life as long as it's in the hands of someone as talented as Ms. Mantel. I have a whole new appreciation of the time and the characters who inhabited that period of history.
Thomas Cromwell was my favorite character because he was shown as being far more human than the one-sided villainous individual in previous books and movies. Manipulative and ahuge appetite for power but also a family man.
I am in awe of Simon Slater and his ability to change voices, emotions, and characters! What a talent; he literally brought the book to life. I truly believe I gained more from the experience of listening to WOLF HALL than I would have by simply reading it.
I do hope that HBO and the BBC will do justice to this amazing story.
I am clearing my calendar and am eager to begin BRING UP THE BODIES!
I am a crotchety lady who loves mysteries and Tudor times.
#1, or tied wth Mantel's "Bring Up the Bodies"
Thomas Cromwell is given such a wry sense of humor, there were so many unexpected moments that made me smile in the midst of an incredible amount of character depth and historical context.
His voice is gorgeous and he reads dialogue like an Oscar worthy actor. Seriously charming and engaging.
The way Mantel handles Cromwell's remembrance of his family- many of whom died from the sweating sickness- is among the most touching and sincere portraits of grief I've found in a book.
Even if you don't love Henry the VIII and tudor history, the prose in this book is simply phenomenal. The way the story unfolds with actual suspense and surprise, even when the conclusions are foregone and you know how it ends, are unique in all the historical fiction I've read.
The book is a very difficult one to listen to, and my wife tells me to read as well. The author uses the word "he" over and over with different individuals in mind for the "he" and it isn't easy to tell whether she means "He" (Cromwell) or "he" some other individual in the sentence. Making it even harder, the book doesn't keep a forward moving narrative, instead doing frequent flashbacks to the character's past memories, some of which she has shared in the story previously, others to which we have never heard and either are about to now learn the details or not.. it is all very convoluted.This is a fascinating time in history, not at all well know to us weakly educated American readers, yet very influential in the rise to power of the eventual British Empire. Sadly, Ms. Mantel's method of telling the story doesn't illuminate the history very much and so the dramatic tensions of the story are often lost on the reader. Making it worse, many of the major historical incidents (the most egregious example is the trial of Thomas More) are walked up to the very brink of telling, then skipped altogether. In short, Ms. Mantel doesn't do a very good job of telling the story. You must be quite familiar with the detailed history already to be able to really grasp what she is driving at in the book. For American readers, this method might work for someone well known, say with Lincoln, but would not work for someone like Aaron Burr.. and even then, I would prefer the more narrative approach of Sharon Kay Penman's series starting with "Here Be Dragons" to Ms. Mantel "stream of consciousness" approach. [BTW.. Audible.. PLEASE RECORD the Penman series... I would love to listen to it!]
The ending was rather lame.
Mediocre narration. It was constantly a challenge to figure out who was talking.
Thomas Cromwell seems so real I could touch him. Love the depth and the descriptive language. The 16th century came to life for me.
Wonderful characterization of voices brings out the individual.
If you hate Thomas More, you'll love this book. If you love Thomas Cromwell you'll also love this book. It is better read than heard, although the reader does an excellent job. It's just the nature of the narrative that makes listening pretty tedious, mainly because you must concentrate very hard in order to catch many of the transitions from subject-to-subject, person-to-person and place-to-place that happen so quickly it's like trying to follow the trail of a dog with firecrackers tied to its tail (something, in the spirit of Mantel's story, that Thomas More surely would have done to some poor dog if he'd had access to firecrackers at the time; then he would have taken the dog into his house where he would have whipped it mercilessly with his own scourging crop before drawing-and-quartering it and then burning it at the stake - all of this inside his house, except maybe the burning). Meanwhile, Cromwell would be out somewhere forming the first chapter of the ASPCA. Since I don't have a dog in the More-Cromwell fight, I really don't care what anyone thinks of either one of them, but it is a little irritating when an author finds it necessary to make one person a perfect villain in order to make another a perfect hero. Where's the ambiguity that is supposed to be essential to all serious fiction? Some reviewers have said that the book is peppered with humor, and I did smile a couple of times. Yet, alas, I was so busy straining to follow the story's transitions that I missed the funny parts or was simply too tired to laugh.
If you love history and are fascinated by the players, read this outstanding .novelization of Cromwell's rise to power in Henry VIII's court
Pillars of the earth by Ken Follet shares many of the same characteristics. Both books examine the uses and abuses of power by both secular and religious people and institutions. The authors weave facts into rich and complex fictions.
Slater added verbal nuances that reflect the often cynical and sardonic voices that might have been missed in reading the books.
See the title of this review