60-Second Guide

How to Blag You've Read Hilary Mantel

Need to pretend you've read more (some) of Booker Prize winner Hilary Mantel's work than you actually have? We're here to help with this ready-to-go guide that can be worked into any awkward conversation.

1 Mention her first book

The key to blagging in this area, is with an early mention of the author's first work.

You'd do best to find a particularly tatty version on Abebooks, so you can claim to have read it years ago.

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Mantel's first book was called 'Every Day is Mother's Day'. It's about the Axon family who, to put things lightly, have a few problems. A study of suburban dysfunction.

What to say: use words like "wry", "unflinching" and "unerring" before reflecting that while "it shows raw talent, it lacks maturity".

 

2 Pick out her "unheralded" novel

The second, and most important key, to blagging knowledge of Mantel is to make an substantiated claim that her best book is in fact one that nobody has really heard of.

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It's an audacious and risky move, but we recommend choosing 'The Giant, O'Brien' for this task.

Set in the 1780s, it's based on the true story of Charles O'Brien, a giant.

What to say: "It's the book that confirms Mantel's natural afiliation with historical fiction."

 

3 Have a view on her current book

And finally, you need to have a working knowledge of 'Bring Up The Bodies', the book that won her the Man Booker Prize.

Be sure to mention that it has "traces of 'Every Day is Mother's Day'" and "echoes the sense of time and place first established in 'The Giant, O'Brian'" before reflecting on "Its Greater Depth

Just make sure to peel off that "Winner of the 2012 Booker Prize" sticker from the cover first.