A brilliant collection of short stories from the double Man Booker Prize-winning author of Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies.
Hilary Mantel is one of Britain's most accomplished and acclaimed writers. In these ten bracingly subversive tales, all her gifts of characterisation and observation are fully engaged, summoning forth the horrors so often concealed behind everyday façades. Childhood cruelty is played out behind the bushes in ‘Comma'; nurses clash in ‘Harley Street' over something more than professional differences; and in the title story, staying in for the plumber turns into an ambiguous and potentially deadly waiting game.
Whether set in a claustrophobic Saudi Arabian flat or on a precarious mountain road in Greece, these stories share an insight into the darkest recesses of the spirit. Displaying all of Mantel's unmistakable style and wit, they reveal a great writer at the peak of her powers.
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Insightful overall but patchy in its quality.
No. There are few universal themes and even less, riveting stories. Just once off, well written stories.
It is fascinating to link Mantel's known, personal story with her fiction. Particularly the nasty aspects of medical misdiagnosis. The space between these lines is worth the intellectual exercise. Of least interest is the perceived intransigence on certain issues which trudges on without being of any value to another human being. For the first time I really saw the more unattractive side of this author's personality.
In short stories this is hard to choose. The characters trapped in Saudi Arabia were my least favourite.
The assassin in the last story was memorable because he lacked all credibility. Come to think of it, I did not believe the representation of the remarkably calm old lady.