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Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
Giving Up the Ghost

Giving Up the Ghost

A Memoir

Hilary Mantel

Henry Holt and Co.

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New York Times bestselling author Hilary Mantel, two-time winner of the Man Booker Prize, is one of the world’s most accomplished and acclaimed fiction writers. Giving Up the Ghost, is her dazzling memoir of a career blighted by physical pain in which her singular imagination supplied compensation for the life her body was denied.

Selected by the New York Times as one of the 50 Best Memoirs of the Past 50 Years

“The story of my own childhood is a complicated sentence that I am always trying to finish, to finish and put behind me.”

In postwar rural England, Hilary Mantel grew up convinced that the most extraordinary feats were within her grasp. But at nineteen, she became ill. Through years of misdiagnosis, she suffered patronizing psychiatric treatment and destructive surgery that left her without hope of children.

Beset by pain and sadness, she decided to “write herself into being”—one novel after another. This wry and visceral memoir will certainly bring new converts to Mantel’s dark genius.

“Mesmerizing.”—The New York Times

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 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.

image of Hilary Mantelo
Els Zweerink

Read a New York Times interview