Hooray for Hilary! Congratulations are in order to Hilary Mantel, author of WOLF HALL, for snagging Britain's most prestigious literary honor, the Man Booker prize, beating out the other nominees, the none-too-shabby A.S. Byatt, J.M. Coetzee, Adam Foulds, Simon Mawer, and Sarah Waters.
The winner was announced today. In addition to the honor of winning the award, Mantel will receive £50,000 ($83,500).
I was honored to receive a review copy of WOLF HALL last week, and although I've been juggling numerous literary deadlines of my own, I will say this much ... this sweeping novel of the Tudor court, featuring at its center the manipulative, and frankly unlikeable, Thomas Cromwell, whose star rose and fell at the whim of Henry VIII, is very difficult to put down.
A full discussion of WOLF HALL will follow in a subsequent post (at the moment I'm only 275 pages into the 532-page novel). So far I can state unevoquivically that it is to Mantel's credit that she has managed to create a terrific page-turner (though a dense read, to be sure) and a positively compelling story (even when you know the inevitable outcome) from the point of view of an utterly objectionable human being.