Book Review: The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher, by Hilary Mantel

The Assassination of Margaret ThatcherThe Assassination of Margaret Thatcher by Hilary Mantel
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I believe that Hilary Mantel is one of the great writers. Period. Not just of this century or the last, but of all time. Her ability to be in the scene is uncanny. I always come away disturbed by her writing, but also comforted.
The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher is a collection of stories, most of which have been previously published. Some of them are slightly spooky. Almost ALL of them lead you down a trail- you think you know where it's going, and then the course switches and you find yourself thinking, "What just happened?". The titular piece is more than I thought it would be. I am an admirer of MT, so I went into the story with prejudices. The two main characters represent two different views of the former PM. One has a sort of flippant, skin-deep hatred of "the butcher's daughter" and the other has deeper feelings, based on deaths of people he knows. It was interesting, but not my favorite of the stories. Mantel's descriptions of places, even to the very air, the smells, the oppression of a human being's very presence, are pure art. Hilary Mantel draws you in and doesn't let go. I am thankful that her work has become more popular in the US, so that maybe we will be able to get more of her earlier works without having to order from England.

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