Giving Up the Ghost A Memoir

Hilary Mantel




Trade Paperback

240 Pages


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A New York Times Notable Book

In postwar rural England, Hilary Mantel grew up convinced that the most extraordinary feats were within her grasp. At nineteen, however, she acquired a persistent pain that led to destructive drugs and patronizing psychiatry, ending in an ineffective but irrevocable surgery. There would be no children; in herself she found instead one novel, and then another. This is a dazzling, wry, and visceral memoir that will bring new converts to Mantel's dark genius.


Praise for Giving Up the Ghost

"Dazzling written . . . A highly unorthodox account of what is essentially unsayable about the inward uncharted life."—Joyce Carol Oates

"Mantel's angular wit is as unquenchable as her anger; the reading experience is reliably exhilarating because of the sheer excellence of the writing."—The New York Times Book Review

"Blazing insights [and] poetic discourses that rattle the soul . . . Mantel doesn't simply hit close to home, she knocks at our closets and opens our doors."—The Boston Globe

"Mantel's talents are stronger than her misfortunes . . . [This book comes] from the mind of a fine author, whose body has imposed its own terrible penances."—The Washington Post

"No book this year has given me more pleasure than Hilary Mantel's astonishing, ravishing memoir, Giving Up the Ghost."—Susan Sontag, The Times Literary Supplement Books of the Year, 2003

Reviews from Goodreads



Read an Excerpt

GIVING UP THE GHOSTIt is a Saturday, late July 2000; we are in Reepham, Norfolk, at Owl Cottage. There’s something we have to do today, but we are trying to postpone it. We need to go across the road to see Mr. Ewing; we need to ask for a valuation, and see what they think of our chances of selling. Ewing’s is the local firm, and it was they who sold us the house, seven years ago. As the morning wears on we move around each other silently, avoiding conversation. The decision’s made. There’s no more to discuss.About eleven o’clock, I see a flickering on the stairca
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  • Hilary Mantel

  • Hilary Mantel is the critically acclaimed author of eight novels, including A Change of Climate and Eight Months on Ghazzah Street. She lives in England.
  • Hilary Mantel John Haynes
    Hilary Mantel