Readers can make or break a book, and if I could, I would not give this book a single star. The reader was terrible. He was unable to highlight the transitions from dialogue to description. As a result, the intricacies of the plot and supporting dialogue were lost. Think: speaking with rocks in the mouth with a monotone voice. What a shame for a Man Booker prize winning book to be "showcased" in such a terrible way. Plot? Rich with it, but impossible to follow due to the ham-handed way the production was made. Save your credits/$$.
Perhaps the finest reading of a great novel, yet. Simon Slater's narration adds a new dimension to a rich source text. He does voices, he has a measured cadence, but his reading is neither extravagent nor unctuous. His narration is an aid to bring to further life the characters as Mantel depicts them. Read the book and listen to the audiobook.
I agree with many of the reviews. Yes, it is long. Yes, sometimes I loose track of the characters. Yes, the naration is wonderfu. But very few people have said how funny the dialog is. I'm listening over several weeks' time, and not a day goes by without a good laugh.
Realistic & Vocal
I could not finish Part 1 which is a first for me. It was written as a play and not as a historical novel. Who is speaking? The English was difficult to understand and the narrator did not help. The content was superb however the enjoyment was not there for me. My strain to clearly listen and follow was at times overpowering. Possibly a better read than a listen.
The author used too many prepositions. I never knew to whom she was referring. And even she admitted- everyone was named Thomas in those days. She would have made it clearer referring to all those Thomases by their last names.
I kept replaying and replaying to figure this book out to no avail. It was boring and what the heck is Wolf Hall anyway? She only mentioned it 3 times in 25 hours and never said what it was- "we're going to Wolf Hall." Whoop de do.
How did this ever win a prize. I didn't feel it was well written and the narrator was
I think this is a good book, but I am not sure it's a good audiobook. The main reason is that the narrative is difficult to follow.
Yes, there are many characters & if you are unfamiliar with the history, it might be confusing, but this was not the main source of confusion. The problem was the writing style. It is unique and creative -- I enjoyed it -- and it probably makes for an enjoyable read. Unfortunately, it is does not translate well into an audiobook. The modified "stream-of-consciousness" meant that I often had to rely on context to figure out whether the words were actually said by the character, or just thought by him. Also, a great deal of information is implied rather than explicitly stated, and communication takes place "between the lines." This is a strength in a book but can be a weakness in an audiobook, because it's too easy to miss these subtleties when you're just listening.
My final complaint is that, in the end, nothing much happened. I read somewhere that the author is working on a sequel, which is much needed. The book seemed to end very abruptly with little to no sense of closure or satisfaction. And after all the work it took to get to the end, I had expected a greater reward for my efforts.
On the positive, the story was interesting and I learned more about the history of these events. The author clearly has writing talent and skill -- the craft evident in the prose is impressive. For these reasons I would say this book definitely is worthwhile, and I am glad I listened to it. Just be warned about the issues above.
Loved this book but wished I had the family tree and list of characters you get in a hard copy book. If you can get a hold of this as reference I would recommend it. Otherwise I very much enjoyed this book and have recommended it to many.
Sometimes hard to tell the fact from the fiction. This was a well done story based on a very complicated time. It is a complex story but mostly easy to follow.
I love historical fiction and this book is set in a fascinating period. The writer has clearly done her homework and the research is impressive. But, quite simply, she has forgotten to think up a story. After all the hype, this book was the most boring and disappointing listen I have experienced. Absolutely nothing happens. The only good thing about it was the reader -- would love to hear more from him.