I don’t know if Hilary Mantel’s voice in this book is unique to her memoir or all of her books. I almost wish this memoir wasn’t the first book of hers that I read, so I could gone into it more familiar with her as a fiction writer.
This book is an odd mix of specific details and atmospheric spookiness. It’s precise and vague at the same time. She mentions throughout the book that she has a mind for detail (something her psychotherapist tells her when she’s in college) and she is not joking in the least.
The first twenty percent of the book or so is mostly about her very, very young years. They were written with so much precision that I found those parts tedious. The thoughts of a toddler, who is leading a fairly innocuous toddler life, weren’t all that gripping to me. Once I got past those parts, the rest of the book went smoothly.
There are some parts that could be called mysticism, paranormal experiences, or hallucinations, maybe? If it were fiction, it might be magical realism. I loved the way she presented them. Again, she was specific and vague at the same time and wrapped them up in an atmosphere that left me with goosebumps. The read was worth it just for those scenes.