OVERRIDE

Giving Up the Ghost

A Memoir

Hilary Mantel

Henry Holt and Co.

In postwar rural England, Hilary Mantel is a fierce, self-possessed child, schooling herself in "chivalry, horsemanship, and swordplay" and convinced that she will become a boy at age four. Catholic school comes as a rude distraction from her rich inner life. At home, where fathers and stepfathers come and go at strange, overlapping intervals, the keeping of secrets becomes a way of life. Her late teens bring her to law school in London and then to Sheffield; a lover and then a husband. She acquires a persistent pain-which also shifts and travels-that over the next decade will subject her to destructive drugs, patronizing psychiatry, and, finally, at age twenty-seven, to an ineffective and irrevocable surgery. There will be no children; instead she has "a ghost of possibility, a paper baby, a person who slipped between the lines." Hormone treatments alter her body beyond recognition. And in the middle of it all, she begins one novel, and then another.

Hilary Mantel was born to write about the paradoxes that shimmer at the edges of our perception. Dazzling, wry, and visceral, Giving Up the Ghost is a deeply compelling book that will bring new converts to Mantel's dark genius.

BOOK EXCERPTS

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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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REVIEWS

Praise for Giving Up the Ghost

"Giving Up the Ghost combines the urgency and observation that steer a memoir into the heart of a reader's own experience. I have been touched and also enthralled by this fine book." -Carol Shields, author of The Stone Diaries and Unless

"A stunning evocation of an ill-fitting childhood and a womanhood blighted by medical ineptitude. Hilary Mantel's frank and beautiful memoir is impossible to put down and impossible to forget." -Clare Boylan, author of Beloved Stranger

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Hilary Mantel

  • Hilary Mantel is the critically acclaimed author of eight novels, including Fludd, Every Day Is Mother's Day, and Vacant Possessions. Recipient of the Hawthornden Prize, she reviews for The New York Times and The New York Review of Books and lives in England.
  • Hilary Mantel John Haynes
    Hilary Mantel
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Available Formats and Book Details

Giving Up the Ghost

A Memoir

Hilary Mantel

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