A smart, deft, meticulous, thoughtful writer, with such a grasp of the dark and spidery corners of human nature
One of the very greatest of our writers; poetic and profound prose with an incomparable feel for the texture of history
Mantel was a queen of literature . . . her reign was long, varied and uncontested
Mantel bristled with intelligence, looked at everything, saw everything . . . With the uneasy energy of her early life, Mantel made rigorous and unsettling work about history, the body and the unknowable
In this dazzling posthumous collection of previously published and original writings . . . Mantel's idiosyncratic and magisterial voice comes through on every page, carrying readers across an astonishing array of subject matter with ease. This is a treasure
The range of subjects is magnificent . . . She can create character in a few lines . . . open at any page for treasures and gold
Her death at the age of 70 last September still feels like a tragedy. Open the pages of this book and that feeling hardens into certainty. What a talent we lost. Her sentences leap off the page, her range is exceptional . . . You never waste a moment reading Hilary Mantel . . . There wasn't much she couldn't do
Today, she reigns supreme as the queen of the historical novel: the achievement of her Wolf Hall trilogy, twice the recipient of Booker Prizes, is universally acknowledged . . . it's a rich and illuminating coda to both Mantel's life and career . . . Now we're the ones stumbling along behind the spectral figure of Mantel herself, eager for her every last word
Her long essays on female writers show Mantel at her best . . . Indeed she excels at writing about writing generally . . . And it's on being a writer that Mantel is funniest . . . a guide to the mind of one of the great English novelists of the last half-century
We must be grateful that she has left us this collection of pieces, thoughtfully compiled by Pearson . . . Revisiting these pieces, with their fierce wit, their dark humour and compassion, is like hearing the voice of an old friend you had not expected to encounter again . . . A Memoir of My Former Self is a fine testament to that remarkable imagination - a reminder of what a voice we have lost, and how fortunate we are that she left us so much
Even her biggest fans will find material new to them. Many of the pieces are of their time, but read together they have a quality of timelessness and prescience. The overall effect is to make the reader feel that Mantel is with us still, communicating from beyond the grave. This collection - much more than the sum of its parts - allows us to see how her theories of life and art knit together . . . Through Pearson's curation, we see Mantel's extraordinary range and depth, the eclecticism of her interests. We get a sense of what shaped her . . . She writes with humour, at times droll, at others razor-sharp. Above all, we get to appreciate the poetry and precision of her prose
Hilary Mantel is worth reading on everything . . . Mordant and witty
How did she manage to write on such a wide range of subjects with such interest, such playfulness and such fidelity to the power of interrogation? . . . Most striking here is Mantel's clear-eyed compassion, her insistence on truthfulness . . . deliciously frank . . . Here are fascinatingly various mediations of that secret self.
I miss knowing Hilary Mantel is out there somewhere, exhuming Tudor England. Don't you? At least we can still hear her (strange, slightly magical) voice in this selection from her essays and reviews. Here we meet not just Mantel the Cromwell-catcher, but Mantel the quill-sharp critic of contemporary life, despising expat life in 1980s Saudi Arabia ('When you come across an alien culture you must not automatically respect it. You must sometimes pay it the compliment of hating it') or revelling in the wit of When Harry Met Sally.