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Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
Giving Up the Ghost

Giving Up the Ghost

A Memoir

Hilary Mantel



In postwar rural England, Hilary Mantel grew up convinced that the most improbable of accomplishments, including "chivalry, horsemanship, and swordplay," were within her grasp. Once married, 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.

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...

Praise for Giving Up the Ghost

“Dazzlingly written...a highly unorthodox account of what is essentially unsayable about the inward uncharted life.” —Joyce Carol Oates, The New York Review of Books

“The matter is bitter, but Mantel's angular wit is as unquenchable as her anger; the reading experience is reliably exhilarating because of the sheer excellence of the writing.” —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

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

Hilary Mantel

Hilary Mantel is the bestselling author of many novels including Wolf Hall, which won the Man Booker Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction. Bring Up the Bodies, Book Two of the Thomas Cromwell Trilogy, was also awarded the Man Booker Prize and the Costa Book Award. She is also the author of A Change of Climate, A Place of Greater Safety, Eight Months on Ghazzah Street, An Experiment in Love, The Giant, O'Brien, Fludd, Beyond Black, Every Day Is Mother's Day, and Vacant Possession. She has also written a memoir, Giving Up the Ghost. Mantel was the winner of the Hawthornden Prize, and her reviews and essays have appeared in The New York Times, The New York Review of Books, and the London Review of Books. She lives in England with her husband.

image of Hilary Mantelo
John Haynes

Read a New York Times interview


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