Giving Up the Ghost: A Memoir

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Picador, Sep 1, 2004 - Biography & Autobiography - 240 pages
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"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."--Pub. desc. (Henry Holt, American ed.).

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Giving up the ghost: (a memoir)

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

In this memoir, Mantel (A Change of Climate) provokes myriad emotions in readers as she tells of her life growing up in England after World War II. Her early years revolved around her mother ... Read full review

Review: Giving Up the Ghost: A Memoir

User Review  - AMAMAM - Goodreads

Mantel is clearly a talented writer and she understands the Reader/Writer relationship better than most. Unfortunately I was not interested in her life story -- especially not her childhood, which lagged on for half of this book. I'm assuming her novels are better than her memoir. Read full review

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About the author (2004)

Hilary Mantel is the bestselling author of many novels including Wolf Hall, which won the Man Booker Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction. Bring Up the Bodies, Book Two of the Thomas Cromwell Trilogy, was also awarded the Man Booker Prize and the Costa Book Award. She is also the author of A Change of Climate, A Place of Greater Safety, Eight Months on Ghazzah Street, An Experiment in Love, The Giant, O'Brien, Fludd, Beyond Black, Every Day Is Mother's Day, and Vacant Possession. She has also written a memoir, Giving Up the Ghost. Mantel was the winner of the Hawthornden Prize, and her reviews and essays have appeared in The New York Times, The New York Review of Books, and the London Review of Books. She lives in England with her husband.

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