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Publisher's Summary

From the two-time Man Booker award-winning author, comes a collection of short stories. Ranging from a ghost story to a vampire story to a near-memoir to mini-sagas of family and social fracture. Each story brilliantly unsettles the listener with Mantel’s classic wicked humor and unsparing eye, in an unmistakably Mantel way.

©2014 Hilary Mantel (P)2014 Macmillan Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
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    40
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Darwin8u
  • Mesa, AZ, United States
  • 02-16-15

Superhuman Prose that Defies Gravity

Seriously, anytime I fantasize about writing a book I read a Hilary Mantel novel and become discouraged. Reading Mantel is like watching Michael Jordan play basketball or Federer play tennis (or back in the day watching Tiger Woods play golf). Unless you are born blind or stupid you realize that these people just don't exist on the same field or plane as the rest of humanity. No matter how many swings, shots, or hits I practiced, I could never play at the level of those masters.

No matter how many books I read or words I write, my brain recognizes that Mantel's skill with a sentence is almost superhuman. She is elegant and strong. She doesn't waste a word. Her prose seems to float with a bold efficiency and beauty that is hard to balance. It is like watching a ballerina kick Mike Tyson's a$$. And I haven't even got to the fact that she can choke you with emotion and knock you out with a surprise twist and well-played verbal throw down. The normal laws of gravity and axioms of art do not apply to Mantel's prose. Her words float. Her sentences run forever. Mantel DOES not f#c% around with the English language. She owns it. Read her novels (or her stories) and she will sit on your chest and own you too.

32 of 36 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

The narrator was aweful....

Would you try another book from Hilary Mantel and/or Jane Carr?

From Hilary Mantel sure but never by Jane Carr

Would you ever listen to anything by Hilary Mantel again?

Possibly but not my first choice

How did the narrator detract from the book?

The narrator added unnatural emotions that I am sure were never intended....very school maarmish rendering of the book....quite destroyed it for me

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Disappointment

Any additional comments?

To be fair to Hilary Mantel, I will read her books again without the awful narration....I am sure she is good...

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • SydSavvy
  • PARIS, TX, United States
  • 10-20-14

How do I love thee, Hilary-Let me County the Ways!

I hate short stories. I'm just a long story person. I want to be given a chance to care about every aspect of the story. I want something to think about. I want a chance to laugh, cry, be curious, be surprised, and be swept away. I want something profound.

How does she do it? I was completely swept up in these stories in all of the above ways. I want to study them and figured out their myriad meanings. I want to study Mantel's writing techniques. I want a bit of her brilliant zanyness. I'm a true fan.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Pita
  • Miami
  • 01-03-15

Mantel NOT at her best

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

Hillary Mantel is one of my favorite writers but these short stories just did not do it for me. I could see shadows of some characters and situations that she has developed in greater detail in some of her novels but here they never had a chance to " be understood".

Would you recommend The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher: Stories to your friends? Why or why not?

I would not recommend this book. I hate to think that someone who has not read Mantel before will pick up this book and form an impression based on it. She is a truly outstanding writer but not an "easy" one...it takes a little while for her particular sense of humor to fully unfold and the reader needs to get to know her characters to truly appreciate them. I would have rather waited for the third book of the Cromwell Trilogy.

What about Jane Carr’s performance did you like?

I did not particularly like the narrator

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

I could not find them. These are probably pieces that she did not choose to publish before.

Any additional comments?

Don't form an opinion on Mantel based on this...read The Giant O'Brian, Wolf Hall, Bring Up the Bodies, Eight Months in Gaza...

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Some great, others good, all worth the time

I'm not usually one for short stories, but numerous people recommended this set of stories and I'm so glad that I finally picked them up. Mantel writes in a variety of genres (well known for her novels ranging from historical fiction to more modern tales with some supernatural or fantastical flair), and this collection shows her range. Some stories feel like brief vignettes or a slice of life, others have a definite story arc. Some are awash in the mundane, others the absurd, and still others the gruesome or enchanted. Most of the voices heard are female, and the stories are all marked by Mantel's sharp observations, tart and dry humor, and erudition that has just the right blend of elite snobbishness and self-deprecation. Some of the stories were utterly satisfying in length, though others I was left wondering what happened next. Mantel, as is typical of an author of her talent, surely left me wishing that this volume was not quite so slim.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Boring lives rendered in excruciating detail

The assassination of Margaret thatcher is by far the best story here. Didn't care for the characters or plots in this collection. I'm going to try and listen again to see if I'm wrong. Mercifully, this book is short.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Some great short stories

Here is a female, more modern Roald Dahl - some stories with a great twist at the end. Well written. Some stories more interesting than others.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Creepy Crawly Good Time

A side, or, to be more accurate, facets of Ms Mantel's work that are new to me. Her exemplary lyricism is no surprise, but its application to such a panorama of the macabre as is found in this collection of short pieces is exhilarating. It isn't unusual to read, in commentary of her work, that she never seems to strike a false note, but I hope no one minds if I choose to celebrate the fact and repraise the glory of her uncanny ear. Jane Carr is perfect.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Nowhere near her best work

There are many great short story authors. Try Conrad, Tolstoy, Chekov,
Fitzgerald, Kipling....

My favorite story is in Saudi Arabia which is haunting.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

A slow burner

At first I was put off by the multiplicity of stories.,however, over time I appreciate them more and more. What a storyteller Hilary is with insight and humor. Enjoying this audio over and over

0 of 1 people found this review helpful