hilary mantel

In ‘Learning to Talk,’ Hilary Mantel Conjures a Troubled Childhood

Lee Polevoi

All the stories here are closely observed, showcasing the author’s exemplary skill at painting secondary characters with a simple literary flourish: “Myra was little, she was mere, rat-faced and meager, like a nameless cut in a butcher’s window in a demolition area.” Also, Mantel reliably locates the right sensory details to evoke a childhood disrupted by arcane family dynamics and the ambition to escape provincial life in the North of England.

7 Authors Whose Works Will Enrich Your Life

Lee Polevoi

Tessa Hadley has published many books, including a remarkable recent novel, The Past. For me, her talents shine brightest in the arena of short fiction, as in her most recent collection, Bad Dreams and Other Stories. Without resorting to prose that calls attention to itself, she tells stories in precise detail and with considerable narrative economy—often to shattering effect.

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