Metaphorical bliss, that what this book of ten short stories is. Hilary Mantel is an observant writer who’s in utmost control of her language and her characters, and details out literary visuals that almost permanently dent your psyche. Her art of bringing out the oddities in human relations is blazing wild, and wittily dark. A word, an adjective, or a verb is all she needs to accentuate the life her story’s going to live. And believe me when I say that most of her stories have more life than the characters in them. These ten stories are her innermost and deepest fears/secrets coming alive, and in every story the devil will make you smile with awe at the author’s bold vision.
My personal favorite from this collection is the uncanny Comma, which is the second title in the book. The story features two little girls who spy on a neighboring mansion, where a blanketed child is wheeled out on a patio every afternoon, its figure resembling the symbol ‘comma’. Sorry to Disturb is my next favorite, which talks of a woman experiencing life as a foreigner in Saudi Arabia, and has a mini-thread of a Pakistani businessman trying to be friends with her. But more importantly this short offers profound observations on women’s role in the society, and its double standards. Other story I loved is Terminus, not because it had an unpredictably shocking end, but because it had a shocking start. The titular story is the last, and its pretty good too. It talks of a woman who opens door to a stranger only to find that the stranger was an assassin who entered her house only to shoot Margaret Thatcher from the window.
This book is a beautiful collection, with good amount of spacings between the blacks in white. Every single story shall hit you in the face with its narrative, and the character detailing is sheer gold – but that’s something we’ve come to expect from Hilary Mantel since her Thomas Cromwell trilogy.
Overall Rating : 4/5
Those who just cannot have enough of the author may note that BBC is filming a Wolf Hall adaptation that’ll be aired in 2015. Wolf Hall is the first in Mantel’s trilogy about Thomas Cromwell, the second being Bring Up The Bodies, and each book has won a Man Booker Prize.