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Learning to Talk Short Stories by Hilary Mantel
  

Learning to Talk Short Stories

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Synopsis

Learning to Talk Short Stories by Hilary Mantel

A companion piece to the captivating memoir GIVING UP THE GHOST by the Man Booker-winning author, this collection of loosely autobiographical stories locates the transforming moments of a haunted childhood. This sharp, funny collection of stories drawn from life begins in the 1950s in an insular northern village 'scoured by bitter winds and rough gossip tongues.' For the child narrator, the only way to survive is to get up, get on, get out. In 'King Billy is a Gentleman', the child must come to terms with the loss of a father and the puzzle of a fading Irish heritage. 'Curved Is the Line of Beauty' is a story of friendship, faith and a near-disaster in a scrap-yard. The title story sees our narrator ironing out her northern vowels with the help of an ex-actress with one lung and a Manchester accent. In 'Third Floor Rising', she watches, dazzled, as her mother carves out a stylish new identity. With a deceptively light touch, Mantel locates the transforming moments of a haunted childhood.

Reviews

'Mercilessly funny'
Daily Telegraph



`Mantel writes with wit, compassion and great elegance.
Independent on Sunday

On


`Giving Up the Ghost':

'Like Lorna Sage's BAD BLOOD, GIVING UP THE GHOST is a story of childhood that is also a piece of history. Hilary Mantel's self-portrait is a masterpiece of wit, but it conjures up a time and a place and an epoch of female experience with razor-edged sobriety. That past, so thoroughly vanished, is made to live again here - disclosed, cannily and heartbreakingly, as once it too yielded up its author's mind.
Rachel Cusk



`What a remarkable writer she is. She is piercingly, even laceratingly observant, and every remembered detail has the sharpness of a good photograph. And yet for all its brilliance of detail and its black comedy the memoir is heavy with atmosphere. It's a very startling and daring memoir; the more I read it the more unsettling it becomes.
Helen Dunmore



`I was riveted. It's raw, it's distressing and it's full of piercing insights into a novelist's mind.
Margaret Forster

About the Author

Hilary Mantel

Hilary Mantel is the first woman and the first British author to win the Man Booker prize twice and the first author ever to win the Man Booker Prize and Costa Book Award in the same year. At 60, she is only the third double winner alongside J.M. Coetzee and Peter Carey. She is also the first person to win the prize for two novels in a trilogy, following her success in 2009 with Wolf Hall.

Hilary Mantel was born in northern Derbyshire in 1952. She was educated at a convent school in Cheshire and went on to the LSE and Sheffield University, where she studied law. After university she was briefly a social worker in a geriatric hospital, and much later used her experiences in her novels Every Day is Mother's Day and Vacant Possession. In 1977 she went to live in Botswana with her husband, then a geologist. In 1982 they moved on to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, where she would set her third novel, Eight Months on Ghazzah Street.

Her first novel was published in 1985, and she returned to the UK the following year. In 1987 she was awarded the Shiva Naipaul Memorial Prize for travel writing, and became the film critic of the Spectator. Her fourth novel, Fludd, was awarded the Cheltenham Festival Prize, the Southern Arts Literature Prize, and the Winifred Holtby Prize. Her fifth novel, A Place of Greater Safety, won the Sunday Express Book of the Year Award.

A Change of Climate, published in 1993, is the story of an East Anglian family, former missionaries, torn apart by conflicts generated in Southern Africa in the early years of Apartheid. An Experiment in Love published in 1995, is a story about childhood and university life, set in London in 1970. It was awarded the Hawthornden Prize.

Photograph © Jane Bown

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Book Info

Publication date

7th July 2003

Author

Hilary Mantel

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Publisher

Fourth Estate Ltd an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers

Format

Paperback
176 pages

Categories

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
Anthologies (non-poetry)
Short stories

ISBN

9780007166442

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