Memories of British author Hilary Mantle, on Twitter and beyond

The death of the prolific and widely beloved British author, Hilary Mantle, who died at the age of 70 on Thursday, sparked many eloquent reactions of mourning from her fans.

Critics and fellow writers took the opportunity to marvel again at Mantle’s gifts. The New Yorker Book Reviewer Parul Sehgal wrote that the author’s death felt “like a kind of theft”.

Historian Simon Schama called him “one of our greatest writers”; Poetic and intense prose with an incomparable feel for the making of history.”

Novelist and editor Gabriel Roth called “Wolf Hall” “one of the greatest novels of all time” and took a jibe at its creation:

The word “genius” appeared frequently on Twitter, but “generous” wasn’t far behind either. It was clear that Mantle made an indelible impression not only on the readers but also on the journalists who interviewed him and the writers who supported him. For example, Hilary Kelly recounts the experience of losing an entire interview with Mantle to a “faulty recorder”, only to have Mantle volunteer to redo the entire conversation.

Novelist Stephen May was one of several writers who recalled coming into contact with Mantle to provide encouragement about his work.

“She leaves a powerful legacy in her writing,” May wrote, “but at the same time she led the life of an emblematic writer. Do the work, pay attention to it, and help others when you can.”

Lucy Caldwell called It is “one of the greatest joys of my own writing life” when Mantle unexpectedly came in contact to praise Caldwell’s novel.These days“It was even better an excuse to text her back and tell her how much her work meant to me — how long and deeply I loved it.”

Mantle became a household literary name after the publication ofWolf Hall“(2009), a novel that envisioned the life of Thomas Cromwell, who became Henry VIII’s closest advisor. That book and its sequel,”bring bodies upBoth won the coveted Booker Prize, making Mantle the first woman to win the prize twice. The last book in the Cromwell trilogy.mirror and light”, was a finalist for Booker.

“Paradox and strangeness—this is what gives historical fiction its value,” Mantel Told Paris Review in 2015. “Finding a shape instead of imposing a shape. And allows the reader to live with the ambiguities. Thomas Cromwell is the character with whom it is most necessary. He’s almost a case study in obscurity.”

Those books sold millions of copies, but Mantle had already established a reputation among critics and writers, including other works of historical fiction. ,more security,” a novel about the French Revolution that runs to over 700 pages, was the first book that Mantel wrote, but it was not published until later in her career. While she was not inspired by history, Mantel often wrote about the supernatural.”Beyond Black,” a subtly toned novel, set in a world of psychics and clairvoyants. Reviewing it for the Guardian in 2005, Fay Weldon wrote Mantle’s: “She’s witty, ironic, intelligent and, I suspect, haunted. It’s a book out of the unconscious, from which the best novels come.”

Mantle memorably describes his early ghost in his memoirs, “give a ghost”, which the New York Times named one of the 10 best memoirs of the last 50 years. She recalled meeting one morning, when she was a young girl, with some kind of spirit in her yard. “That’s as high as a two year old,” she wrote. “It has no edge, no mass, no dimension, no shape other than the formless; it moves. I beg, stay away, stay away. Within the realm of a thought it is inside me, and has established a morbid resonance within my bones and in all the cavities of my body.”

Writer Sam Knight was another who warmly described Mantle’s generosity, and he ended by suggesting that Mantle’s experience with the supernatural may not end there. “What a wonderful ghost that would be,” he wrote.

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