I meant to do a couple of things yesterday - work on a translation, maybe replace the inner tube on my bike's back wheel if feeling particularly calm. Instead I read Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall
It's good-- I didn't love it as I did A Place of Greater Safety
, but there's more action in APOGS, more grand sweeping happenings, a greater passage of time and more extreme characters, more extremes of ideology, more romance and more drama. To a simple, melodramatic soul like me, APOGS is hugely appealing: you coo, oh, Camille, oh, oh, Robespierre
, and everyone goes to the guillotine except Saint-Juste it feels like and you feel savagely satisfied and sad*. Wolf Hall is politics, trade, religion: the ideological differences are more nuanced, questions of conscience and pragmatism, loyalty to ideas and religions and persons. A lot of it reminded me of nothing so much as Dorothy Dunnet's "House of Niccolò" series (I haven't read the Lymond ones)-- something very similar in the way Dunnet wrote Claes and Mantel wrote Thomas, their quickness with language and logic and ledgers, politics and trade, their backgrounds and battles and households and even their women. Slightly too similar. I'd fill in a thought of Cromwell's with something of Niccolò's: I suspect I came away with the sense that his textile-trade background had been more fleshed out than it was because my brain supplied details, or a general feel, from Niccolò Rising
I feel sort of awful mentioning this, but it was with a growing sense of shocked hilarity that I read this
interview in the graun with her the other week. Shocked hilarity because-- well, the ancient Greeks believed in this disease called hysteria, right, where a woman's womb starts wandering around her body causing phantom pain and suffocation and madness. And then you read about Hilary Mantel suffering terrible pain, and doctors thinking it psychosomatic and her mad and prescribing her things that give her severe anxiety attacks, and this turns out to be because of a disease where cells from the womb start appearing in the wrong places
, and, oh god, that's... hysteria. Only real
. How terrifying.
And now to translate, to translate.
* Historical fact is not a spoiler ok.