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Giving Up the Ghost : A Memoir (John MacRae…
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Giving Up the Ghost : A Memoir (John MacRae Books) (Original 2003; 2004. Auflage)

von Hilary Mantel

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5702231,678 (3.78)65
"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.).… (mehr)
Mitglied:Pauntley
Titel:Giving Up the Ghost : A Memoir (John MacRae Books)
Autoren:Hilary Mantel
Info:Picador (2004), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 240 pages
Sammlungen:Deine Bibliothek
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Giving Up the Ghost: A Memoir von Hilary Mantel (2003)

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At first, I didn’t know what to make of Hilary Mantel’s memoir. I was confused by the fragmentary nature of the narrative and thought of laying the book aside. But she had invested my attention with her two masterpieces Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies , so I decided to suspend judgment and read the book to the end. By that time, much made sense. The style the author uses is not mere prowess of a hand practiced at fiction. The omissions evoke a childhood plagued by illness and imagination. In common with other children whose parents’ marriage is disintegrating, she is haunted by a sense that she is to blame. Also, the reader should take the term “ghost” in the title seriously. From early on, she is sensitive to stirrings around her. Although she concedes that these sensations have a likely explanation in the aura accompanying her chronic migraines, part of her is reluctant to give up the idea that these are ghosts.
By the time Mantel recounts an incident in the “secret garden” (p. 106), this fits with the elliptical, haunted prose style she has established.
In adulthood, when a combination of rare illness and medical ineptitude condemn her to childlessness, the infants she would never bear become additional ghosts peopling her life. Side effects in the treatment, coupled with thyroid failure, lead to a rapidly enlarged body; in a sense, her slim self is another hovering ghost.
Mantel is careful not to over-dramatize the dysfunctional household of her childhood, but it is of the kind that grinds many to passive submission. A few children find salvation at the local library, and young Hilary is one of them. She describes the foreshadowing of her ultimate vocation—typically, without announcing it as such—in recounting her visits to a neighbor’s home to watch the episodes of a children’s serial on their television (her own family had none):
“At the end of many weeks I have saved up the entire story. I go home and announce it to my mother: The Secret Garden , here is that story. It spools out and out of my mouth, narrative, dialogue and commentary. She looks stunned” (pp. 76–77).
It would not have been true to life for her to have realized then that she was destined to become a novelist. There were detours: she first studied to become a barrister, then sidetracked to young marriage and poverty. But we know how it turns out. She becomes a writer, a good one. One attraction of this book is the nuggets of sound advice about writing along the way, including one bit that runs counter to the “Protestant work ethic” preached by most other writers (“keep your daily appointment with your project, and in time the muse will visit”). While it seems as if Mantel agrees that a writer disciplines herself to write, she also advises not to “do your work before you are ready” (p. 70). So I guess this means, write something, but don’t force the project you have in mind before it is time.
I’m glad I read this to the end; I felt rewarded by it. But I wouldn’t recommend it as the first of her books one should read. ( )
  HenrySt123 | Jul 19, 2021 |
So I'm a little late to the game on this one, but the NY Times recently included it in its list of the 50 best memoirs of the last 50 years. I'm a huge admirer of Mantel, so I instantly reserved it through my public library system. The library clerk and I marveled at the elegant, tiny hardcover edition that arrived, and I marveled at the content.

Extraordinary. Mesmerizing. This woman's mind is so intense, her brain must be packed to the rafters with synapses. Memories, observations, connections, visions, flashes of an acid wit, all pour out of her, and with a vividness, honesty, and truth that I came up gasping: "How does she DO that?" I don't often feel I should go back to page one and start over, but as an aspiring writer myself, Mantel makes me want to.

I also admire her for adhering to what I think is wise advice to those who write memoirs: you have the right and the power to tell your own story, but other people's stories belong to them to tell. Her confusing and often difficult childhood necessarily includes her family members, and the relationships were fraught, but Mantel tells us how it felt and looked to *her,* and passes no judgment on those around her. I am a child of divorce, and I've never read a better evocation of how that feels - to know, and not know, to feel but not understand what was happening among the adults in the household. Her illness experience is excruciating, battering her body and mind, gutting her sense of her self and sanity.

Interestingly, she uses a trope that Sarah Smarsh uses in her memoir, [b:Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth|38532119|Heartland A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth|Sarah Smarsh|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1530074050l/38532119._SY75_.jpg|60164951], addressing thoughts to a daughter she never had and never would have - one of the "ghosts" alluded to in the title. Smarsh's efforts too often tipped into pathos; Mantel's never do, and are that much more powerful.

I've just learned that the third volume of Mantel's brilliant Thomas Cromwell trilogy, "The Mirror and the Light," is due to be released in March 2020. I for one can't wait, and am that much more grateful that I've gotten better acquainted with its astonishing author through this memoir.
( )
  JulieStielstra | May 17, 2021 |
“...coaxing out of my computer the novel concealed somewhere in its operating system....”
Excellent writing, and an object lesson in how to write a memoir
Read on Apple book app
  MiriamL | Mar 7, 2021 |
One of our finest writers today turns her talents inward, sharing with captivating prose the path she took to get here. The rare 'page-turner' memoir.

Os. ( )
  Osbaldistone | Sep 8, 2020 |
An amazing story by an amazing woman who is able to articulate both the wonder and the pain of her life in an honest and beautiful way. I'm not ready to give up my ghosts yet, but Mantel has done a wonderful thing in setting down how she has lived through one of the most difficult losses a woman can suffer. ( )
  Jean.Walker | Sep 1, 2019 |
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AutorennameRolleArt des AutorsWerk?Status
Mantel, HilaryHauptautoralle Ausgabenbestätigt
Wymark, JaneErzählerCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt

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Small holes, secret graves,

children scattered around the iron fence.

Not even a scratched stone.

The wind rises, clouds over the moon,

a dog's bark and those owls,

Alone and no end.

My children who won't hear.

The night full of cries they will never make.

Judy Jordan, 'Sharecropper's Grave'
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For my family
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It is a Saturday, late July 2000; we are in Reepham, Norfolk, at Owl Cottage.
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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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