Posted by: Lisa Hill | April 17, 2013

Sensational Snippets: Bring Up the Bodies (2012), by Hilary Mantel, Winner of the Booker Prize in 2012

Bring Up the BodiesI am not in the habit of letting work get in the way of the all-important business of reading and reviewing books, but things are just a little bit hectic at the moment.

After two years of industrial action, the teachers union and the state government have stopped head-butting and finally reached an agreement about a pay rise.  This means the bans on implementing the new Australian Curriculum have been lifted and that this term teachers now have to assess students using a new curriculum that they have barely set eyes on, and report student progress to parents.  This means that curriculum coordinators like me suddenly have rather a lot to do, with a very tight deadline … and rather a lot of this work needs to be done at home after school *sigh*.

Fortunately the book I’ve just finished reading is the redoubtable Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel which has won just about every award there is and has been reviewed all over the place, so there is no need for me to write a review.   I would find it very hard to do anyway, because I do not like to gush in my reviews and I think I would find it very hard not to over-enthuse about the wonders of this follow-up to Wolf Hall.  (You can see my review of that one here).

I am going to content myself with two quotations, which seem so relevant to contemporary politics, I can’t resist them:

All the same: in village alehouses up and down England, they are blaming the king and Anne Boleyn for the weather: the concubine, the great whore.  If the king would take back his lawful wife Katherine, the rain would stop.  And indeed, who can doubt that everything would be different and better, if only England were ruled by village idiots and their drunken friends? (p. 36)


And he does not see what more he can do for Anne Boleyn.  She is crowned, she is proclaimed, her name is written in the statute, in the rolls: but if the people do not accept her as queen … (p. 152)

Australians will understand why these two quotations resonate….

For a beaut Aussie review see Janine’s thoughts at The Resident Judge of Port Phillip.

Author: Hilary Mantel
Title: Bring Up the Bodies, Thomas Cromwell Trilogy #2
Publisher: Fourth Estate (Harper Collins), 2012
ISBN: 9780007353583
Source: Personal library, purchased from Benn’s Books $32.99

Fishpond: Bring Up the Bodies


  1. “Bringing Up the Bodies”, the novel that is always sitting there for us, no matter what. Is there a third on the way? Liked your Anne Boleyn quotes, even though I have not a clue of the Australian context.


  2. I will gush for you Lisa. A fantastic read, the best read anyone will have for a long time. I don’t buy many books, limited budget, but I do have two copies of Bring Up the Dead. I have the paper back copy, and a signed hard back first edition copy. If Bring Up the Bodies doesn’t win the Booker Man Prize I will be so shocked, and will think there was a conspiracy going on!


  3. It is impossible to “over-enthuse” about Bring Up the Bodies. Any praise is “enthusing enough” or, more often, “not physically capable of enthusing the way it deserves”!


  4. Great quotes Lisa … did Hilary Mantel know something!

    I can’t wait to read this book, which I’ll be doing in June (or is it May) with my reading group.

    Oh, and good to hear the dispute has been resolved – I hope the teachers are happy(ish).


    • Hmpf. I don’t know about whether other teachers are happy, but as usual there’s been nothing done to remedy the unreasonable workload of Leading Teachers in primary schools, and the weekly pay rise is an insult considering the level of responsibility I have.


      • Oh dear … I feared so …


        • Oh well, I wasn’t expecting anything else!


          • No, I don’t imagine you would … Our public service type jobs don’t tend to fare well do they? Teachers, nurses, librarians, social workers … Ah look, they tend to be women’s occupations!


            • *chuckle* All politicians (not just that foolish Bailleau who made promises he couldn’t keep) say that teachers should be paid more, a lot more, to entice the best and brightest into the profession. But there’s so many of us (42,000 in Victoria) and when they do the maths, even a $5 p/w pay rise is a lot of money in a State budget. So then they suddenly remember (a) the teachers that were mean to them at school and (b) all those holidays that we get and (c) that no parent will ever change their vote on the basis of a broken promise made to teachers, and hey presto! the negotiations grind down into an unedifying squabble over a pay rise that’s barely noticeable after tax. Most cunning of all in recent years, is that they string the fight out over two years, so that the pay rise isn’t included in the final years of salary for retiring teachers. We’re going to see more of this nasty tactic as the baby boomers retire…


              • Not pretty …

                Timing retirement is always an issue, I think … It’s hard in most circumstances to get everything aligned. Those of us who retired just as the GFC hit know that life isn’t fair!!


                • Yea verily!


  5. I can say I probably won’t be reading this I really didn’t get on with wolf hall myself ,all the best stu


  6. I feel like I am a bad historical fiction fan for confessing that I still haven’t read Wolf Hall despite the fact that I bought it as soon as it came out here. Another book on my ‘one day’ list!


    • *chuckle* Marg, you are the most prolific reader/reviewer I know!
      But if I may presume to give you a piece of advice, save it till you’ve got a week’s holiday, it’s a big work, and you’ll enjoy it mnore if your reading isn’t interrupted by having to go to work:)


  7. […] been posted by bloggers in other posts (such as John at Musings of a Literary Dilettante, Lisa at ANZ LitLovers, and Alex in Leeds). Their excerpts relate more to thematic issues, but I want to share one that […]


  8. […] is an early novel by Hilary Mantel, now a the bestselling Booker Prize winner of Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies fame.  It is quite different in style to the Tudor novels, more like Beyond Black which I read and […]


  9. […] you need to read Books 1 & 2 of the trilogy?  I was enthralled by Wolf Hall, and equally so by Bring Up the Bodies.You possibly don’t need to, but why deny yourself the […]


Please share your thoughts and join the conversation!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: