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A Place of Greater Safety


Ariège Author

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I liked it a lot because I found the unfolding of the revolution was a lot clearer to me after reading it.  The history books I had read only served to confuse me as to the time-line of events.

Also, fluffy as it might sound, I liked the human interest and found it really helpful to have the first names as well as the surnames of the leaders as depicted in the book.

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I think it's a measure of the book that I agree with you both! The style certainly jarred in places - sporadic use of dramatic-style dialogue for one - but Sweet17 is right that Mantel manages to portray the very heart of the revolution from several personal perspectives. One of those books that stays with you for a long time. And also an advocate for getting an e-reader! It's a heavy tome.
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I loved A Place Of Greater Safety. As you say it is massive and I never thought I would ever get through a book that size but I did, and was actually sorry when I got to the end. But I've liked all Hilary Mantel's books, apart from the one about the medium, wasn't totally convinced by that though it was interesting. I love her style - very cleverly written and a wry sense of humour, she make me laugh.out loud.
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[quote user="sweet 17"]AA, I found Wolfe Hall, by the same author, MUCH harder to read and it, equally, is about a period in history that I am most curious about.[/quote]

 Like you I found it hard to read but its a period I am interested in... I'm waiting until the kindle version of 'Bringing up the bodies' is a little cheaper before I buy it....

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 Its a shame Hilary Mantel did not remember the old adage 'if you can't say anything nice, say nothing'  As she ignored it, so will I:  the photo of Hilary Mantel  that accompanies the article in some papers makes her look like a vacuous Barbie doll type and is not entirely flattering.

To compare Kate Middleton to Marie Antoinette is to ignore history and the different roles of each person.

To complain about the portrait and blame the sitter seems pretty odd, maybe the artist is to blame and just didn't interpret the subject well...and she also seems to forget that Kate Middleton has been royalty for a very short time, we know more of Marie Antoinette because she is history ...who knows what the future holds for Kate Middleton?

My feeling is that Hilary Mantel wants to keep sales of her book bubbling along and taking pot shots at people unable to respond is just cheap publicity.

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But, RH, did you read the article in its entirety?

I don't see it as Mantel attacking Kate Middleton at all.  If anything, she is attacking the way the media portray royalty and how the public has this bizarre relationship with royalty (and she doesn't spare herself in the way she  describes how she herself relates to royalty).  I found it quite revealing, the way she writes about her "encounter" with the queen; how everybody sort of deliberately ignored her so as not to be seen as gauche or sycophantic.

I remember having to spend some time with a famous personality once (over a period of more than a week) and the last thing OH said to me was, "and don't keep addressing her by name" because, apparently, what famous people hate is the way everybody ends every remark they make to them by saying, for example, "Did you enjoy your dinner, RF?" or "Did you sleep well last night, RH?" and so on,

The result was, I was so careful NOT to address the famous person by name that I ignored her more or less completely, throughout the week and only talked to her when she asked me a question!  I wasn't being rude as such but I didn't want to appear gauche and I wanted to follow my OH's advice to the letter[:-))] in order not to show myself up!  Lo, and behold, at the end of the week, we'd become firm friends (we still email each other) and she had to beg me to have my photo taken with her because there was no way, I was going to ask her to stand next to me for a photo!

Don't know what you'd call that, not quite inverse snobbery but I really didn't want to come across as "star struck" so I think Mantel was, if anything, very sympathetic to how the royals have to conduct themselves as they go about their business and perhaps feeling isolated and uncomfortable.

BTW, I have met a couple of royals, in the course of my charity activities and OH's work, and I think I did always err on the side of caution and NOT appear overly eager.  Alas, they all seemed to have picked on me as the person to speak to  and I didn't quite know, as Mantel didn't, quite how to handle myself during my brushes with royalty......[:-))][:-))][:-))]

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If anything, she is attacking the way the media portray royalty and how the public has this bizarre relationship with royalty

Then she could have used much kinder language when describing Kate Middleton. Or used a different example.

My feeling it was either ill judged or publicity seeking, neither option makes me want to rush out to buy her book (and indeed until the Kindle price comes down I'm not going to anyway [:@])

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No, RH, she was describing how the media write about KM.  She didn't say anywhere that that was how she herself viewed her, honest!  Read the article carefully, it really isn't what some sections of the press are saying about it.

RH, you know how Mantel writes, with subtlety, and packs in lots of "stuff" between the lines. 

Anyway, I am now no longer saying anything more.  People will just have to read the article for themselves and make up their own minds.  I only posted because I thought Ariège Author might like to read the speech.  If I were an author, I'd like to see how someone with supreme confidence in their ability would write about the holy cow that is the British monarchy.  It's not a subject that is up for full and frank discussion.  

 

 

 

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I agree Sweet 17, it was a very thoughtful, if somewhat long-winded piece.

On the subject of how to act around the famous - once as a treat a friend took me behind the scenes at the Horse of the Year Show.

I was introduced to THE most famous English rider of the time and shown round the stable and small fenced off area at the back of the arena. My friend produced a camera and asked me if I would like my photo taken with him. I was delighted and went and stood next to the horse ! Oh dear.

Hoddy

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But Kate Middleton, as she was, appeared to have been designed by a committee and built by craftsmen, with a perfect plastic smile and the spindles of her limbs hand-turned and gloss-varnished.

I'm sorry I don't think there is much subtle about that. If it's a general point about how the British public view royalty then why mention specific people at all ? To draw attention to her speech and garner publicity for her book perhaps ? 

In addition if people can read her speech and still feel she was being especially offensive about Kate Middleton, could it be that she is not such a great communicator after all ?

It's not a subject that is up for full and frank discussion

Believe me Sweet, it is in this house (and has been for the past 30+ years !)

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[quote user="Hoddy"]I agree Sweet 17, it was a very thoughtful, if somewhat long-winded piece. On the subject of how to act around the famous - once as a treat a friend took me behind the scenes at the Horse of the Year Show. I was introduced to THE most famous English rider of the time and shown round the stable and small fenced off area at the back of the arena. My friend produced a camera and asked me if I would like my photo taken with him. I was delighted and went and stood next to the horse ! Oh dear. Hoddy[/quote]

Oh, Hoddy, I love your story and it made me laugh![:D]

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Like Sweet 17, I too see Hilary Mantell's description of Kate as being the one presented to us by the media. Remember the Waity Katy tag? That depicted her as characterless and passive.

And today's sycophantic and coy references to the swelling tum made in BBC reports thoroughly enraged me.[:@]

I thought the whole speech rambled quite a bit, (what was that about the public grief at the death of Diana being a focus for change that never came about?) but the historical content was very interesting.

I have not read A Place of Greater Safety, but I will now. I have read both Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies and feel that I have far more insight into the Tudor period written about than I've ever got from any history book. 

 

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Thanks for posting the link, Sweet17 - although describing the monarchy as a 'holy cow' could land you in the same Mantel boat!!

I had read the article and agree that while some of Ms Mantel's language could have been better chosen, she is making an interesting point - but yes, takes a while to get there. Nothing new there then!

And while I can't claim to know the author personally, I've met a lot of booksellers who have had the pleasure of meeting her and all of them thought she was wonderful. Arrogant never came into the equation. Given some of the stories I hear about diva writers and their behaviour at book signings, this makes a change.

So it makes me think that no insult was intended. And I guess we'll never know if it was taken...

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