Tell us about yourself!
I had tried to read the book in written form and found it daunting. When I listened to the audible sample it was a revelation. So much more easy to understand.
The reader made every voice distinct, like an actor he made each character unique. As the protagonist, Thomas Cromwell is the star of the show.
I loved the voice of Cardinal Woolsey. As Simon Slater rendered him, I could perfectly visualize a fat old man in his red robes.
At over 21 hours long it would have to be a marathon of listening to hear in in one sitting. Great value for one credit.
Loved this book: excellent writing, excellent imagining of an oft told tale. And what a fantastic narrator. Already bought the sequel : Bring Up the Bodies
Maybe it's because I already know the story of Henry the VIII and Anne Boleyn SO well, or maybe the story just got dragged out in tedious detail, but I was sorely disappointed. I had read all the good review and heard from many friends how great this series is but the reality was really quite dry. I had planned on reading the next book but have since crossed that off my wish list. The reader had a pleasant voice and good accent, but having to read a boring book just didn't help.
Slater gets inside the heads of the characters, moves the story ahead with his narration, anticipating where it will go, gives you a deft psychological portrait of each.
Couldn't and wouldn't. It's like fine wine, savoring it sip by sip
Frankly, this is my first disappointing purchase on audible. I have not been able to make is through more than 4 hours of this book. I am particularly surprised at the positive reviews of the narrator, whom I find very difficult to follow. He seems to confuse the voices on occasion. I have noticed that the text itself does a poor job of clarifying who is speaking, and differentiating between spoken words and silent thoughts. This may be an excellent listen for someone who has already read the book, and can fill in the blanks where the narration and text flow fails.
Given the positive reviews by other audible listeners, I had high hopes. Perhaps I will try to come back to it at another time. I really wish I had spent my credit somewhere else.
Yes, Wolf Hall is historical fiction; it is also extremely witty. Sadly, the narrator, Simon Slater, is such a poor reader that he misses the humor entirely. He marches through the narrative with little understanding, and the characters sound very much the same. Cromwell he gives a kind of ill-natured growl, which is very much at odds with how is character is drawn and with the clever remarks he exchanges. And the rest of the characters Slater gives a priggish simper, including Cardinal Wolsey. I actually stopped listening and picked up the book instead. Would be great if someone capable decided to take on the book, Steve Hodson would be ideal. Derrick Jacobi also comes to mind, of course, but he almost always records abridged versions.
The clarity of the writing and the complexity of the plot.
There are many. From the opening sentence.
Not one character - all the characters. So rarely does each character in a book remain compelling but this book accomplished that for me. Cromwell, Henry and Anne Boleyn but so does the minor character of Henry's daughter, Mary and the Boleyn relatives who step in and out of the spotlight. They all have their time in the sun and there are no wasted words.
History and humanity and romance and a bit of the heroic make it for quite a complete recipe.
The hero's ability to be loyal and self-serving and idealist without becoming absurd is enthralling.
Cromwell and More in the Tower, discussing the survival of the self and the agony of physical death, make you wish to have been there--well, far removed from the agonies of course, but into the discussion
Thomas Cromwell of course is the acknowledged hero. Thomas More is rather memorable too, while the other characters do not begin to compare
The narrator was perfect. Usually I read history books, where the narrator is less important (although the wrong one can be a pain). Compared to the few novels I read, Mr. Slater is a star.
I never could figure out from whose point of view we are seeing the action and switching back and forth get very confusing. I found it hard to follow events.
It has turned me off anything Hillary Mantel writes. I really don't understand how she got such good reviews.
The voices of the various characters were not unique enough. Maybe this is one of those books which is better read than listened to.
I would have ordered that the whole book be rewritten from one person's point of view instead of constanly switching back and forth.
The reviews make the the sequel sound interesting but I doubt I could get through another Mantel book with all the switching viewpoints.
Say something about yourself!
Visual, compelling, fascinating
For some reason this book reminds me of Saturday by Ian McEwan for the way it brings you into the life and thought of one man.
I tried listening to this book twice in the past, and had to put it aside because my mind wandered, and when it came back, I couldn't figure out where I was and lost interest.
I'm putting in the extra effort this time due to the soon to be available sequel, Bring Up the Bodies (not sure when it will be available on Audible), which see on Amazon has had good reviews for the audio version.
This time, I'm careful to listen when I can give this my full attention, which means that sometimes I have to switch to something else that's not possible. Giving it a careful listen, I agree with past reviewers who give it five stars. This performance is a little hard to follow, but some of that could be due to the text, and reviewers of the sequel say that Bring Up the Bodies is easier to follow than this book. I'm looking forward to reading that as soon as I am done with Wolf Hall. Highly recommended to anyone who can give this their undivided attention!
Really, could I read yet another novel about this time period and these people and enjoy it? Apparently yes. This is more "literary" than the Bolyn Girls books, which made me enjoy it more. I had a bit of trouble with the narration at first, but I think really it was a quirk about the way the book was written that was hard to translate for the spoken word. The story itself is told by Thomas Cromwell, but it is all written in the third person. So it was hard to tell when "he" meant Cromwell or the other person that Cromwell was talking to or about, because you would have expected it to be "I". I had to go back and re-listen to a few sections at the beginning but once I got used to that it didn't bother me. I really enjoyed the book told from the "villian's" perspective, because, of course, real people are more complicated than simply being good or evil.