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Giving up the Ghost: A memoir [Kindle Edition]

Hilary Mantel
5.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (3 Kundenrezensionen)

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From Publishers Weekly

As she approaches midlife, Mantel applies her beautiful prose and expansive vocabulary to a somewhat meandering memoir. The English author of eight novels (The Giant, O'Brien; Eight Months on Ghazzah Street; etc.) is "writing in order to take charge of the story of my childhood and my childlessness; and in order to locate myself... between the lines where the ghosts of meaning are." Among the book's themes are ghosts and illness, both of which Mantel has much experience with. She expends many pages on her earliest years, and then on medical treatments in her 20s, but skips other decades almost entirely as she brings readers up to the present. At age seven she senses a horrifying creature in the garden, which as a Catholic she concludes is the devil; later, houses she lives in have "minor poltergeists." The first and foremost ghost, though, is the baby she will never have. By 20, Mantel is in constant pain from endometriosis, and at 27, after years of misdiagnosis and botched treatment, she has an operation that ends her fertility. Her pains come back, she has thyroid problems and drug treatments cause her body to balloon; she describes these ordeals with remarkably wry detachment. Fans of Mantel's critically acclaimed novels may enjoy the memoir as insight into her world. Often, though, all the fine detail that in another work would flesh out a plot-such as embroidery silk "the scarlet shade of the tip of butterflies' wings"-has nowhere to go.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

With a harsh wit reminiscent of Mary McCarthy, prizewinning novelist Mantel writes about growing up Catholic in England, about her family secrets, school, work, and marriage, and about the chronic, excruciatingly painful illness that hit her at the age of 27. Without nostalgia, she remembers her childhood in a village community: "Every person oversaw the affairs of the next; and sniggered about them." Her self-mockery is just as entertaining, and she's honest about how hard it is to remember: "you can't make sense of childhood, only report it as it felt." She's enraged against the medical establishment that for years treated her physical symptoms as female neurosis caused by overambition. Yet with the fury and farce, she also writes with lyrical simplicity about loss. She remembers missing her dad after the family breakup: "He was never mentioned after we parted: except by me, to me. We never met again." Women's book groups will want this, and so will writers trying to tell their stories. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved


Mehr über den Autor

Hilary Mantel wurde 1952 in Glossop, England, geboren. Nach dem Jura-Studium in London war sie als Sozialarbeiterin tätig. Sie lebte fünf Jahre lang in Botswana und vier Jahre in Saudi-Arabien. Für den Roman >Wölfe< (DuMont 2010) wurde sie 2009 mit dem Booker-Preis, dem wichtigsten britischen Literaturpreis, ausgezeichnet. Mit >Falken<, dem zweiten Band der Tudor-Trilogie, gewann Hilary Mantel 2012 den Booker bereits zum zweiten Mal. Die deutsche Übersetzung erschien im Frühjahr 2013 im DuMont Buchverlag, wo auch ihr Roman >Brüder< (2012) erschien.

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4 von 5 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Amazing read 3. Mai 2014
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
Reading this book is like tasting excellent wine. Hilary Mantel shows herself utterly human and indeed she is an amazing writer. The book was touching but she never inspires pity.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen autobiographie vom besten 4. Juni 2015
Von Yvonne
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
Ein wunderbar feine beschreibung von einem leben .. die kindheitserinnerungen sind sehr bewegend, die krankheitschronical ebenso. Mantel ist überhaupt als schriftstellerin zu empfehlen.
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Missbrauch melden
5.0 von 5 Sternen Ein lesenswertes Buch 5. Juli 2015
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
Perfekt in Wortwahl und Ausdrucksfähigkeit. Spannend zu lesen.so sollte man Bücher schreiben können ! Die Kritiker loben Frau Mantel nicht umsonst.
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 von 5 Sternen  45 Rezensionen
41 von 45 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen A Brilliant Memoir 24. Februar 2006
Von Blue Moon - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
This is a book to be read and re-read; Hilary Mantel's prose is so spare and sharp that at first glance it conceals the depths that unlie her descriptions of events and people throughout her life. The "ghost" takes many forms; her reactions to them become her life. Although she has led a life of hardships and pain, she tells of times of pleasure and inserts wry and very amusing lines as counterpoints to dark and dramatic moments. Women in particular will understand much of what Mantel has been through both physically and emotionally as she wrestles with disease and doctors. I recommend this highly to anyone who has read and enjoyed Mantel's novels.
23 von 24 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Fascinating glimpse into the life of a great contemporary writer 1. September 2007
Von Penny - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
I love the way Hilary Mantel writes. Her imagery and descriptions are so true, so evocative, sometimes I need to put on a sweater or snuggle deeper into the duvet just to cope. She strings me out and keeps me roped in. I have no other way of expressing just how fine her writing feels to me. When I'm reading her work, I feel that she has tapped into the great reservoir--the man-made basin brimming with pain and suffering, dreams and devils. This book is haunting and grim--yet one identifies so strongly with the author, risk and all.
15 von 15 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen glimpses of otherness 4. April 2013
Von LitCrit101 - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
In her memoir, Giving up the Ghost, Hilary Mantel obliquely tackles a subject much debated in psychoanalytical circles of a century ago and revisited by feminist literary critics from 1968 onward: To what degree is female ambition and achievement in the arts ( or any field, for that matter) a compensation for an unfertile womb, and in what way is artistic creativity in women related to mental instability and even madness? In our post-feminist era such suggestions sound outrageous, reactionary. We are accustomed to thinking that we can and will have it all. But slip back fifty, then one hundred years or more and examine the lives of great women writers and poets. Virginia Woolf insisted that without leisure time, education, private income, and a space to write, a woman could not produce literature, hence the demands of motherhood and marriage might be a serious obstacle. Emily Dickinson, a spinster, withdrew from the world, Charlotte Bronte died of a pregnancy related illness with her unborn first child, Elizabeth Bishop was gay, Sylvia Plath found both marriage and motherhood devastating. Mantel reminds us that in her formative years, a time not so long ago, women were expected to stay home and to become homemakers, and though England already had a long tradition of penwomen, it was no easy journey to become a writer.
This memoir is about how a poor, "neverwell" child of Irish origins, from a disadvantaged family became one of the world's most celebrated novelists, twice winning the Man Booker prize, an unprecedented feat. Home was drab lodgings without a bathtub, with few books, where her mother maintained an unusual ménage living, for a time, with both her husband and lover. The latter would be the one to rescue Hilary and her family, giving them the dignity of a real home and a new name. At school this pale, phlegmatic child was at times picked on, grudgingly admired, avoided. As she fashions her story, she gives us echoes of other stories we know and love. The rage that bubbles within her at school recalls Jane Eyre's ( and indeed she claims, Jane Eyre is the story of all women writers). Her descriptions of the strange visions that sometimes inhabit her psyche echo moments of Turn of the Screw, in which she is both the governess and the malignant child, other moments, such as the eerie revelation of evil she glimpses in the yard might have been drawn from Stephen King filtered through Mary Butts.
Ever since her childhood, she has been subject to visions, "seeing things" that "aren't there," she confesses, well aware that the inclusion in quotes somehow makes these ghostly presences more explainable or more acceptable to contemporary minds. Like Henry James, she never lets us know her own explanation for the ghosts she regularly sees: are they metaphors, the product of ophthalmic migraines, or projections of her own psyche? She suggests all these possibilities, tying in hormonal issues as a further explanation. The heart of Mantel's memoir focuses just on these issues, and the debilitating condition with which she battled for years, undergoing an early hysterectomy. The surgery turned out to be useless, as replacement estrogen worsened her symptoms and led to uncontrollable weight gain. The medical establishment had no remedy but was convinced she was the problem, not her disease. For many years she was given pain killers, antidepressants, antipsychotic drugs. Struggling to come to grips with herself, her pain, her changing and changed body, she starts writing again, but her doctors do not approve. Why not she asks. The chilling reply is simply "because." This was all happening ten years after Germaine Greer published The Female Eunuch. But luckily for us, Mantel kept at it, six years later published and was paid for her first story. At one point, she realized that she was unconsciously waiting for children who would never come. Empty bedrooms, an overfilled pantry, presses packed with sheets for too many beds were the telltale signs. Once she brought her mourning to the light, the unborn ghosts of her womb became novels.
There is no self-pity in this memoir, which is poignant, unexpectedly funny at times. If anything there is too much self-control, and even minute traces of self-loathing. In handling the sections of her childhood, she shapes the story to the child's half understandings. The male figures, father, step-father, brothers, husband, are at best presences. Yet every sentence, every phrase in this book is breathtaking, artfully crafted, subtly shaped. We almost forget the message given at the beginning. If you want to be a writer " Rise in the quiet hours of the night, prick your fingertips, and use the blood for ink." But what we have read has been written in blood, product of pain, sacrifice, self-control, distance from oneself and from one's own ghosts. A real achievement.
11 von 11 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen intimate and engrossing 1. April 2011
Von carolinaislandgirl - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
This memoir for me was what I look for in a memoir: revealing, analytical, self-deprecating and helping the reader come to know the author as a person. When the memoir is written by someone who has only been known to the reader as an admired author, but not at all on a personal level, and the memoir draws the character of the writer so indelibly, it can only be a very satisfying read. And that's exactly what it was for me. I wondered who in the world could write the novels she has written and now I find out a bit about the woman, her interior world and her life, in a very well wrought piece.
10 von 11 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen A rambling tour de force 21. Juli 2012
Von Emma Steed - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
The boom in British memoir writing means, inevitably, that precedents have been established, problems flagged, conversations set in play. Hilary Mantel is smart to these concerns, aware of the intellectual tangles and the technical difficulties involved in inserting herself in an already crowded genre. She muses on the temptation to use charm to make herself lovely and works hard at the problem of how to inhabit the mind of a child as well as an older self without lurching clumsily between the two. She is wise, too, to the expectations of the genre, balking at those points when her life does not quite fit the template (there is an incident, when she is seven, of almost unwritable awfulness, but it has nothing to do with the sexual abuse that Mantel assumes we will, as practised readers, be expecting). Still, none of this knowingness gets in the way of the writing, which is simply astonishing - clear and true. In Giving Up the Ghost, Mantel has finally booted out all those shadowy presences that have jostled her all her life, and written the one character whom she feared she never could - herself.
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