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Books | The Guardian ([info]theguardianbook) wrote,
@ 2020-02-26 14:28:00

Previous Entry  Add to memories!  Tell a Friend!  Next Entry
Tudor fat: long books like Hilary Mantel's don't need to be hard

Suggestions that the 900-page The Mirror & the Light needs editing are underestimating readers - but if you’re unsure you can do it, there are ways to better enjoy long books

Not since Henry VIII first got that glint in his eye has such fuss been made over an urge to start chopping, but here we are: critics the world over are wringing their hands over the length of Hilary Mantel’s much anticipated The Mirror & the Light, which is due out next week.

“Even professed admirers of Mantel may find it hard to finish,” Prospect’s review read, suggesting that people who have waited eight years for the third book in a trilogy may not be invested enough. Many other reviews have also suggested (politely, and often underneath glowing praise) that the book, longer than Wolf Hall and double the size of Bring Up the Bodies at roughly 900 pages, needed more of an edit. I say roughly – almost every review has made mention of the page count and somehow also come up with a different figure to marvel at: 863 pages in the Independent, 912 in the Telegraph and “almost 900” nearly everywhere else, while the New York Times weighed the US edition as a mere “nearly 800 pages”.

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