Hilary Mantel is the critically acclaimed author of eight novels, seven of which are available in paperback from Henry Holt. Winner of the Hawthornden Prize, she lives in England. Ms. Mantel reviews for The New York Times and the New York Review of Books.
When Mrs. Axon found out about her daughter's condition, she was more surprised than sorry; which did not mean that she was not very sorry indeed. Muriel, for her part, seemed pleased. She sat with her legs splayed and her arms around herself, as if reliving the event. Her face wore an expression of daft beatitude.
It was always hard to know what would please Muriel.