Read-a-long: Wolf Hall

The reviews of Wolf Hall have been mixed so far.  Despite that, I had no qualms about reading it.  I am sick of all the typical Tudor historical fiction, but Wolf Hall seems so different.  It’s the same story but it’s told in a fresh way.

At first, I was captivated.  The first 100 pages setting up Thomas Cromwell’s life and position were fascinating a readable.  I noticed Mantel’s strange writing style straight off—everyone is constantly referred to as he, which makes it difficult to determine what character is being referenced at times, but I found Wolf Hall to be very readable.  Unfortunately, I had to put the book down at that time to finish up some other bookish commitments I had.  I picked it up again on my plane ride home from Italy and was immediately nonplussed.  All of a sudden, the book was a complete bore.  It could very well have been due to the fact that I had just finished The Girl Who Played with Fire, by Stieg Larsson.  Not much can compare to it!  Possibly it was the fact that I was stuck on what seemed to be a never ending plane ride.  Whatever the case, I have avoided reading it since I last put it down a week and a half ago.

Since that time, the book has been glaring at me, begging me to read it.  I vacillate between picking it back up or just hiding it away somewhere so that I won’t be reminded of it.  Then I saw that Jen at Devourer of Books is having a read-a-long on Twitter.  She was kind enough to invite me to join in and I figure that maybe the motivation of a read-a-long will get me back into the book.

If anyone else is in the middle of Wolf Hall or contemplating starting it, the discussion schedule is below.  Heck, if you’ve read it make sure to join the discussion as well!

April 15th – Part 1, pages 3-38
April 19th – Part 2, pages 39-132
April 22nd – Part 3, pages 133-234
April 26th – Part 4, pages 235-342
April 29th – Part 5, pages 343-434
May 5th – Part 6, pages 435 – end

I’m crossing my fingers that I will be able to get back into the book and that I will be able to enjoy it!

ETA: As Jen was kind enough to point out, I forgot to include the hastag–#whall.  Be sure to use it when you’re joing in on the discussion on Twitter!

5 Responses

  1. Don’t forget the Twitter hashtag #WHall! I’ll try to post a recap Thursday night/Friday morning on my blog so that people can add their thoughts (assuming Erin agrees).

  2. I don’t know how to use Twitter but I think I will try to read with you guys, it has been glaring at me from the shelves for a few months now!

  3. Hmmm, I’ll have to think on this. I think I’m about 1/4 to 1/3 of the way through the book. Now if I can just remember where I put it…

  4. I tried this recently and I just couldn’t get through the first few pages. It definitely a strange writing style. My husband enjoyed it though so I think I’ll have to give it another try.

  5. It’s a terrific book, and the more you may already know about the history and literature of the Tudor period, the better it is. Cardboard figures from the history books become real people with all their virtues and faults.

    The writing style is aggravating until you realize that the author is looking over Thomas Cromwell’s shoulder at all times. His is the head you are in; he is the HE who sometimes seems unidentified.

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