Axon Family Books In Publication Order
- Every Day is Mother’s Day (1985)
- Vacant Possession (1986)
Thomas Cromwell Books In Publication Order
- Wolf Hall (2009)
- Bring Up the Bodies (2012)
- The Mirror and the Light (2020)
Standalone Novels In Publication Order
- Eight Months on Ghazzah Street (1988)
- Fludd (1989)
- A Place of Greater Safety (1992)
- A Change of Climate (1994)
- An Experiment in Love (1995)
- The Giant, O’Brien (1998)
- Beyond Black (2005)
Short Stories/Novellas In Publication Order
- How Shall I Know You? (2014)
Short Story Collections In Publication Order
- Learning to Talk (2003)
- The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher (2014)
- Mantel Pieces (2020)
Non-Fiction Books In Publication Order
- Giving Up the Ghost (2003)
The Human Predicament Books In Publication Order
- The Fox in the Attic (1961)
- The Wooden Shepherdess (1973)
Anthologies In Publication Order
- By the Book (2014)
Axon Family Book Covers
Thomas Cromwell Book Covers
Standalone Novels Book Covers
Short Stories/Novellas Book Covers
Short Story Collections Book Covers
Non-Fiction Book Covers
The Human Predicament Book Covers
Anthologies Book Covers
Hilary Mantel Books Overview
Stephen King meets Muriel Spark in Hilary Mantel’s first novel. Evelyn Axona medium by trade and her half wit daughter Muriel have become a social problem. Barricaded in their once respectable house, they live amid festering rubbish, unhealthy smells and secrets. They completely baffle Isabel Field, the social worker assigned to help them. But Isabel is only the most recent in a long line of people that find the Axons impossible. Meanwhile, Isabel has her own problems: a married lover, Colin. He is a history teacher to unresponsive children and father to a passel of his own horrible kids. With all this to worry about, how can Isabel even begin to understand what is going on in the Axon household? When Evelyn finally moves to def Muriel, and Muriel, in turn, acts to protect herself, the results are by turns hilarious and terrifying.
A dark and uproarious tale of revenge. Ten years have passed since Muriel Axon did her ma in, ten years of living in a mental asylum. But Muriel has not forgotten her welfare worker, Isabel, or her neighbor, Colin. Nor has she forgiven. There are still scores to be settled and vengeance to be wreaked. In a novel that is wildly funny and daringly wicked, Mantel brings the full force of her black humor to bear on a cast of characters that is by turns wacky and malevolent. As Muriel dons disguises to get back at the world that imprisoned her, we follow a trail that is wonderfully macabre with enough twists and turns to qualify this book as a thriller.
Winner of the Man Booker Prize 2009 ‘Lock Cromwell in a deep dungeon in the morning,’ says Thomas More, ‘and when you come back that night he’ll be sitting on a plush cushion eating larks’ tongues, and all the gaolers will owe him money.’ England, the 1520s. Henry VIII is on the throne, but has no heir. Cardinal Wolsey is his chief advisor, charged with securing the divorce the pope refuses to grant. Into this atmosphere of distrust and need comes Thomas Cromwell, first as Wolsey’s clerk, and later his successor. Cromwell is a wholly original man: the son of a brutal blacksmith, a political genius, a briber, a charmer, a bully, a man with a delicate and deadly expertise in manipulating people and events. Ruthless in pursuit of his own interests, he is as ambitious in his wider politics as he is for himself. His reforming agenda is carried out in the grip of a self interested parliament and a king who fluctuates between romantic passions and murderous rages. From one of our finest living writers, Wolf Hall is that very rare thing: a truly great English novel, one that explores the intersection of individual psychology and wider politics. With a vast array of characters, and richly overflowing with incident, it peels back history to show us Tudor England as a half made society, moulding itself with great passion and suffering and courage.
When Frances Shore moves to Saudi Arabia, she settles in a nondescript sublet, sure that common sense and an open mind will serve her well with her Muslim neighbors. But in the dim, airless flat, Frances spends lonely days writing in her diary, hearing the sounds of sobs through the pipes from the floor above, and seeing the flitting shadows of men on the stairwell. It’s all in her imagination, she s told by her neighbors; the upstairs flat is empty, no one uses the roof. But Frances knows otherwise, and day by day, her sense of foreboding grows even as her sense of herself begins to disintegrate.
‘Fludd‘ is a dark fable of lost faith, mysterious omens and awakening love set among the priests and nuns of a surreal English town deep in the northern moors. Fetherhoughton is a drab, dreary town somewhere in a magical, half real 1950s north England, a preserve of ignorance and superstition protected against the advance of reason by its impenetrable moor fogs. Father Angwin, the town’s cynical priest, has lost his faith, and wants nothing more than to be left alone. Sister Philomena strains against the monotony of convent life and the pettiness of her fellow nuns. The rest of the town goes about their lives in a haze, a never ending procession of grim, grey days stretching ahead of them. Yet all of that is about to change. A strange visitor appears one stormy night, bringing with him the hint, the taste of something entirely new, something unknown. But who is Fludd? An angel come to shake the Fetherhoughtonians from their stupor, to reawaken Father Angwin’s faith, to show Philomena the nature of love? Or is he the devil himself, a shadowy wanderer of the darkest places in the human heart? Full of dry wit, compassionate characterisations and cutting insight, Fludd is a brilliant gem of a book, and one of Hilary Mantel’s most original works.
It is 1789, and three young provincials have come to Paris to make their way. Georges Jacques Danton, an ambitious young lawyer, is energetic, pragmatic, debt ridden and hugely but erotically ugly. Maximilien Robespierre, also a lawyer, is slight, diligent, and terrified of violence. His dearest friend, Camille Desmoulins, is a conspirator and pamphleteer of genius. A charming gadfly, erratic and untrustworthy, bisexual and beautiful, Camille is obsessed by one woman and engaged to marry another, her daughter. In the swells of revolution, they each taste the addictive delights of power, and the price that must be paid for it.
From the violent townships of South Africa to the windswept countryside of Norfolk, this is an epic yet subtle family saga about what happens when trust is broken, when secrets are buried and when lives must be torn apart before they can be put back together again. Ralph and Anna Eldred live in the big Red House in Norfolk, raising their four children and devoting their lives to charity. The constant flood of ‘good souls and sad cases’, children plucked from the squalor of the East London streets for a breath of fresh countryside air, hides the growing crises in their own family, the disillusionment of their children, the fissures in their marriage. Memories of their time as missionaries in South Africa and Botswana, of the terrible African tragedies that have shaped the rest of their lives, refuse to be put to rest and threaten to destroy the fragile peace they have built for themselves and their children. This is a breath takingly intelligent novel that asks the most difficult questions. Is there anything one can never forgive? Is tragedy ever deserved? Can you ever escape your own past? A literary family saga written with the skill and subtlety of a true master, this is Hilary Mantel at her best.
A New York Times Book Review Notable Book of the Year It was the year after Chappaquiddick, and all spring Carmel McBain had watery dreams about the disaster. Now she, Karina, and Julianne were escaping the dreary English countryside for a London University hall of residence. Interspersing accounts of her current position as a university student with recollections of her childhood and an ever difficult relationship with her longtime schoolmate Karina, Carmel reflects on a generation of girls desiring the power of men, but fearful of abandoning what is expected and proper. When these bright but confused young women land in late 1960s London, they are confronted with a slew of new preoccupations sex, politics, food, and fertility and a pointless grotesque tragedy of their own. Hilary Mantel’s magnificent novel examines the pressures on women during the early days of contemporary feminism to excel but not be too successful in England’s complex hierarchy of class and status.
The year is 1782; the place, London: the center of science and commerce, home to the newly rich and magnet to the desperately poor. Among the latter is The Giant, O’Brien, a freak of nature, a man of song and story who trusts in the old myths, in Irish kings and fairies. He has come to exhibit his size for money. He has, he soon finds, come to die. His opposite is a man of science, a society surgeon, the famed anatomist John Hunter, employer to a legion of grave robbers. He lusts after the Giant’s corpse. Coin is offered. The Giant refuses. He will be buried, he will assume his throne in heaven. But money changes hands as friends are bribed. The Giant sickens, dies. Today, his bones may be seen by any curious stranger who visits the Huntarian Museum in London, part of the Royal College of Surgeons. Hailed as ‘an acute observer, fearless in exploring difficult subjects’ The Wall Street Journal, Mantel here tells of the fated convergence of two worlds Ireland and England, poetry and science on the cusp of a new century. As belief wrestles knowledge, so The Giant, O’Brien calls to us from a fork in the road. It is a tale of its time, a timeless tale.
The much anticipated novel from the critically acclaimed author of Giving Up the Ghost and A Place of Greater Safety. There’s something nasty at the heart of Britain. The earth is poisoned: radioactive waste is washing into the water supply, and Japanese knotweed is choking the grasslands. Ghastly housing estates are proliferating across the Home Counties and terrorists are hiding in the ditches. This is Britain at the end of the last century and at the birth of the new. Alison knows what is coming. She foresees the death of Princess Diana an annoying presence who is just as confused on the other side as she was on this. Alison foresees the coming down of the twin towers. Alison Hart is a medium by trade: dead people talk to her and she talks back. With her flat eyed, flint hearted sidekick, Colette, she tours the dormitory towns of London’s orbital road, passing on messages from dead ancestors: ‘Granny says she likes your new kitchen units.’ But there are messages that Alison must keep to herself. Alison’s ability to communicate with spirits is a torment rather than a gift. Behind her plump, smiling and bland persona is a desperate woman. She knows the next life holds terrors that she must conceal from her clients. Her days and nights are haunted by the men she knew in her childhood, the thugs and petty criminals who preyed upon her hopeless, addled mother. As the spirits become stronger and nastier it becomes clearer that there are terrible secrets about to be revealed. Who is Alison? Why is she so keen to perform a good deed in a desperate world? What terrible thing was it that she did as a child? Why is she drawn to the cutlery drawer even now? This is Hilary Mantel’s tenth novel and her first for six years. Beyond Black is an hilarious and deeply sinister story of dark secrets and dark forces, set in an England that jumps at its own shadow, a country whose banal self absorption is shot through by fear of the coming, engulfing blackness.
In the wake of Hilary Mantel’s captivating memoir, ‘Giving Up the Ghost’, this collection of loosely autobiographical stories locates the transforming moments of a haunted childhood. This sharp, funny collection of stories drawn from life begins in the 1950s in an insular northern village ‘scoured by bitter winds and rough gossip tongues.’ For the child narrator, the only way to survive is to get up, get on, get out. In ‘King Billy is a Gentleman’, the child must come to terms with the loss of a father and the puzzle of a fading Irish heritage. ‘Curved Is the Line of Beauty’ is a story of friendship, faith and a near-disaster in a scrap-yard. The title story sees our narrator ironing out her northern vowels with the help of an ex-actress with one lung and a Manchester accent. In ‘Third Floor Rising’, she watches, dazzled, as her mother carves out a stylish new identity. With a deceptively light touch, Mantel locates the transforming moments of a haunted childhood.
In postwar rural England, Hilary Mantel is a fierce, self possessed child, schooling herself in ‘chivalry, horsemanship, and swordplay’ and convinced that she will become a boy at age four. Catholic school comes as a rude distraction from her rich inner life. At home, where fathers and stepfathers come and go at strange, overlapping intervals, the keeping of secrets becomes a way of life. Her late teens bring her to law school in London and then to Sheffield; a lover and then a husband. She acquires a persistent pain which also shifts and travels that over the next decade will subject her to destructive drugs, patronizing psychiatry, and, finally, at age twenty seven, to an ineffective and irrevocable surgery. There will be no children; instead she has ‘a ghost of possibility, a paper baby, a person who slipped between the lines.’ Hormone treatments alter her body beyond recognition. And in the middle of it all, she begins one novel, and then another.
Hilary Mantel was born to write about the paradoxes that shimmer at the edges of our perception. Dazzling, wry, and visceral, Giving Up the Ghost is a deeply compelling book that will bring new converts to Mantel’s dark genius.
A tale of enormous suspense and growing horror, The Fox in the Attic is the widely acclaimed first part of Richard Hughes’s monumental historical fiction, ‘The Human Predicament.’ Set in the early 1920s, the book centers on Augustine, a young man from an aristocratic Welsh family who has come of age in the aftermath of World War I. Unjustly suspected of having had a hand in the murder of a young girl, Augustine takes refuge in the remote castle of Bavarian relatives. There his hopeless love for his devout cousin Mitzi blinds him to the hate that will lead to the rise of German fascism. The book reaches a climax with a brilliant description of the Munich putsch and a disturbingly intimate portrait of Adolph Hitler. The Fox in the Attic, like its no less remarkable sequel The Wooden Shepherdess, offers a richly detailed, Tolstoyan overview of the modern world in upheaval. At once a novel of ideas and an exploration of the dark spaces of the heart, it is a book in which the past returns in all its original uncertainty and strangeness.
The Wooden Shepherdess is the sequel to The Fox in the Attic, and the second volume of Richard Hughes’s monumental historical fiction, ‘The Human Predicament.’ It opens with Hughes’s hero Augustine in prohibition era America, where he is a bemused onlooker and increasingly fascinated participant in a country intoxicated with sex, violence, and booze. Then, in brilliant cinematic style, the book moves to Germany, where the Na*zi Party is gradually gaining in power; to the slums and mining towns, parliamentary backrooms and great houses of a Britain that is teetering on the verge of class war; and to the wilds of the Atlas mountains of Morocco. The book ends with a terrifying account of the Night of the Long Knives, as Hitler ruthlessly secures his hold upon Germany. This new edition of the The Wooden Shepherdess concludes with the twelve chapters that Hughes completed of the planned third volume of ‘The Human Predicament,’ here published for the first time in America.