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EVERY DAY IS MOTHER’S DAY By: Hilary Mantel May 15, 2010

Posted by lycan librarian in book reviews, Books and reading.

     One of the Lycan Librarian’s favorite writers is Hilary Mantel, and she thought she had every one of this author’s books proudly displayed on the shelves of the Moonlit Library, but this particular selection from 1985 was unknown to her and recently discovered at a church rummage sale. As you can see, Ms. Mantel has been writing for some time, and I assure you that she has produced some very different, odd and magical selections. This one is no exception.
     Evelyn Axon is a medium by trade, living with her grown daughter, Muriel, who is mentally disabled, and described as a half-wit. Evelyn is widowed, but there are more souls than just she and her daughter living in their home, and she is constantly tormented by them as they disturb her sleep and ruin things, seemingly in order to create more work for her — or is it just that Muriel is smarter than she lets on to be and is playing the part of multiple spirits behind her mother’s back? I’ll never tell, and quite honestly, I’m not altogether certain I can say for sure. That question keeps the memory of this book impishly lodged in the back of my mind.
     This novel is terribly depressing, one good for reading on gloomy days with a full pot of tea and a pack of favorite cookies nearby. The story is complicated by the social worker assigned to the Axon case and her lover, Colin, an unhappily married man who receives little respect from his wife and boisterous children. Mantel is a dark writer and her characters are not jolly, happy, or even content beings, rather they tend to be the type who mourn the passing of their own lives even while living them. Perhaps that’s why the sombre Lycan Librarian so enjoys this particular author’s works.

     Hilary Mantel’s very best novel is FLUDD, which takes place in the provincial English village of Fetherhoughton and tells the tale of a disillusioned priest, a robust nun named Philomena, and a man called Fludd who suddenly shows up professing to be the new curate. It is a strange, mystical and highly memorable story — one not to be missed. 

     Mantel’s latest book, WOLF HALL, about Henry VIII’s England is newly out, and on this reader’s must-read list.  There is no absolutely no doubt that this talented author has created a fantastic environment in which to relate the story of one of history’s cruelest and most fascinating kings.



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