After completing an Open University BA Hons, I booked myself into Arvon in Devon. Why? Because Hilary mantell was booked for that week and I had read several of her books (note how I omit the adjective ‘excellent’ books, a word I may have used yesterday). No, I’m not impartial. Ms mantell owes me £50 because she withdrew from Arvon due to the pressures of being nominated for the Booker Prize. Her replacement was a cheap novelist who had moved to Devon and had some limited literary success by taking the mickey out of the natives. Not up to scratch as an author for me. I withdrew from the course but had to forfeit £50 of the fee.
This, however, was a slight knockback and did not put me off reading Ms mantell. As a matter of fact I am reading ‘A Place of Greater Safety’, at the moment. I have to vehemently bend back the book’s spine and secure the opened pages with a plastic peg. The size and shape of the book is brick-like and awkward. Not sure if I will continue reading.
Now, to reach my point. Ms mantell’s recent speech ‘Royal Bodies’, at the British Museum and her mean spirited use of Kate Wales to enhance pointed-teeth praise of her own sensibilities. Ms mantell has lost sight of the surely beating heart and lost herself in demonstrating her own daring observations. (gasp with admiration) Ms mantell’s speech reflect the condition of her soul.
I may describe the novelist as a balloon, but won’t because it’s hurtful.
The following quote from the ‘Royal Bodies’ speech, reveals how Ms mantell has become a quill.
‘And then the queen passed close to me and I stared at her. I am ashamed now to say it but I passed my eyes over her as a cannibal views his dinner, my gaze sharp enough to pick the meat off her bones.’
The novelist actually believes that her stare caused the Queen to turn –
‘and such was the hard power of my stare that Her Majesty turned and looked back at me, as if she had been jabbed in the shoulder; and for a split second her face expressed not anger but hurt bewilderment. She looked young: for a moment she had turned back from a figurehead into the young woman she was, before monarchy froze her and made her a thing, a thing which only had meaning when it was exposed, a thing that existed only to be looked at.’
Ms mantell has mislaid humanity in writing of the dead. She observed the Queen as a carcass on display. A great crack has formed and now Ms Mantell walks with bone-crushing tread on the living. Her own restraint is lost in an inflated idea of herself. I believe one’s corporeal body reflects one’s soul.
Deary me, Ms mantell.
Does the Duchess of Cambridge really deserve the double whammy of Ms mantell AND the dreadful darkness of Paul Elmsley’s one-haired-brush copied photograph dead-as-a-doornail excuse of a portrait?