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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
24
Every Day Is Mother's Day
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Has she written a "bad" book? Not that I've read. This is not my normal cup of tea, but it's hard to say no to Mantel. The writing style, characterizations, plot - Al put her work on a higher plane.

True, this was a thoroughly depressing story. But it's intended. Don't read it if you're looking for some light uplifting fare.

I don't like to discuss plot in my reviews. I detest spoilers of any stripe and try not to give anything away. No, I'm not following that with a 'but'. I try to expose writing, originality, feeling. There are lots of great stories told by poor or mediocre writers. I don't have time for those. If rather read a decent story told by someone with a talent for telling them than the best plot ever told by a hack.

This is the former - with a few twists. If you're a fan already of her work, pick it up. If you've never read her work, it could serve as an introduction, but rest assured, her later works are far better in terms of story. A nice way to spend a few hours.
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on November 6, 2010
Hilary Mantel is an exceptional writer and this book almost defies description. It is the story of Evelyn Axon who is a spiritualist who will bring back the spirits of the dead to speak to the living. Unfortunately, these spirits don't want to leave her house once they have been called and thus the house is virtually full of sly manipulative evil ghosts. Yet, it is Mantel's great strength that we are never sure if there are ghosts in the house or whether Evelyn Axon has completely lost her mind. Her half-witted daughter, Muriel, lives in the house also and requires the supervision of a social work agency. Muriel becomes pregnant while in a day school for the mentally retarded and once again we are unsure if the staff or other students may have gotten her pregnant or whether the evil spirits lingering in the upstairs bedrooms may have impregnated her. Muriel's social worker is a plain woman with limited expectations, Isabel Field, who is having an affair with a middle-aged loser of a fellow, Colin Sidney. The story gets very complicated from this point onward but the strength of the book is not how pathetic many of the characters are but rather the outstanding language and black humor that Mantel uses to paint these characters in these awkward situations. Her view of mankind as expressed in the book is bleakly realistic about the limitations and foolishness of the human experience. As I read about these pitiful characters struggling for a tiny bit of joy in their limited lives, I found myself laughing out loud rather than crying due to Mantel's exceptional literary skills. Is this existentialism disguised as a black humor horror story? Probably so. However it is Mantel's gift that you don't see her fingerprints as she hides the philosophical under the humor and horror.
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on February 4, 2017
The book turned from suspenseful to farcical- a terrific and quirky read from an author who knows what she is doing on a profound level.
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VINE VOICEon August 15, 2016
A very creepy story with interesting characters. I plan to read the sequel soon.
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VINE VOICEon June 14, 2013
Nobody is spared here. I loved the characters. It's not exactly uplifting, but it is comical if you appreciate black humor.
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on October 17, 2014
Les Petites Meurtres d'Agatha Christie, Set 1, a French TV series still in production, adapts the very English original stories and gives them a decidedly charming French twist. While the original basic story lines are recognizable, the talented writers, creative team and actors have adapted the old, familiar stories and substitute fresh, entertaining and essentially French charactets, plot elements and sensibilities. Anyone expecting the Gallic version of Joan Hickson and David Suchet will be (and deserve to be) disappointed. These stories are as enjoyable glass of excellent champagne. The scripts and performances are charming, funny, touching, a bit irreverent and a touch world-weary and cynical. The production values and look of the pieces, impeccable. What else would you expect from the French?
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on November 2, 2015
Ms. Mantel's writing draws you in and keeps you fascinated throughout the novel. Her observations resonate with our own experiences and we can really identify and empathize with the characters. Impossible to put this book down, once started.
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on August 17, 2013
I was totally lost and uninterested in this book. It seems to be a narration of two mentally challenged people, and not interesting or funny at that. I wouldn't bother with this one, unless you just have to read a Mantel book.
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on May 18, 2013
I read a lot of books. This was the second Hilary Mantel book I read. It was only second in weirdness to the first book of hers that I read. It really stayed with me after reading. But it was sooooo strange. I would recommend it to any serious reader. It certainly isn't fluff or just light entertainment.
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on May 21, 2015
wonderful writing. creepy. this is the first book. the second is vacant possession.
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