Sunday, 23 November 2014
It could be that I'm the wrong reader because I've never really cared for short stories. They're too short. You can't get engrossed in a short story, or hardly ever. (I make an exception for Annie Proulx's Brokeback Mountain which is the most perfect short story ever written.)
But I'm eagerly awaiting Hilary Mantel's next Thomas Cromwell instalment next year and so I hoped this might fill the gap, even though some of the stories are several years old. 1993, in one case, and it shows.
Wish I could say that the others are Hilary Mantel at the peak of her powers, but they're not. They seem stagey and contrived and only the first one rang true - about a Pakistani businessman who foists himself as an unwanted visitor on an unhappy expat housewife holed up in Jeddah. It feels autobiographical; Mantel lived in Jeddah for four years in the 1980s and said it was the happiest day of her life when she left.
I've still got a couple of stories to go. But I might just let this one go back to the library tomorrow as there's a waiting list for it. You can read the Mrs Thatcher story here, but it struck me as Mantel trying to be controversial for the sake of it.