Rest in Peace, Hilary Mantel

“Hilary had a unique outlook on the world – she picked it apart and revealed how it works in both her contemporary and historical novels – every book an unforgettable weave of luminous sentences, unforgettable characters and remarkable insight. She seemed to know everything,” her editor Nicholas Pearson said. “For a long time she was critically admired, but the Wolf Hall trilogy found her the vast readership she long deserved.”The Guardian

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I will miss her and her words, but then, I’m an expedient reader and so what I really miss is what her next novel might have been. I read a fair number of news stories about her death but don’t remember seeing whether or not she had a novel in progress.

Personally, I found the Wolf Hall Trilogy the best series of books I ever read. Everything about it was impeccable. And, as often happens with historical fiction, it clarified a lot of events and viewpoints that weren’t covered in our history classes unless we had a strong focus on Henry VIII.

Then, too, it (the universe) gives me a nudge when authors younger than I suddenly die. When I was young, I wasn’t alarmed when old writers died because, well, they were old. But now, I’m less casual about the notion of old authors who are here today and gone tomorrow.

I have a strange feeling that while she was a famous, respected, bestselling author, most readers wouldn’t recognize her name. When I said RIP Hilary Mantel on my Facebook profile, nobody responded. Not that I expect everyone out there to follow the Booker Prize; I do think everyone should recognize her name. Apparently not. Maybe that’s because she was British and outside the realm of the people, American audiences follow–not counting the royal family and rock stars.

I’ll keep my fingers crossed. Maybe someday a new novel will appear that was in progress when she died. That would be good.

Malcolm