Learning to Talk: Stories (Paperback)

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Learning to Talk is a dazzling collection of short stories from the two-time winner of the Booker Prize and #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Wolf Hall trilogy.

With a New Preface

In the wake of Hilary Mantel’s brilliant conclusion to her award-winning Wolf Hall trilogy, this collection of loosely autobiographical stories locates the transforming moments of a haunted childhood.

Absorbing and evocative, these drawn-from-life stories begin in the 1950s in an insular northern village “scoured by bitter winds and rough gossip tongues.” For the young narrator, the only way to survive is to get up, get on, get out. In “King Billy Is a Gentleman,” the child must come to terms with the loss of a father and the puzzle of a fading Irish heritage. “Curved Is the Line of Beauty" is a story of friendship, faith and a near-disaster in a scrap-yard. The title story sees our narrator ironing out her northern vowels with the help of an ex-actress with one lung and a Manchester accent. In “Third Floor Rising," she watches, amazed, as her mother carves out a stylish new identity.

With a deceptively light touch, Mantel illuminates the poignant experiences of childhood that leave each of us forever changed.

“A book of her short stories is like a little sweet treat...Mantel’s narrators never tell everything they know, and that’s why they’re worth listening to, carefully.” —USA Today

“Her short stories always recognize other potential realities...Even the most straightforward of Mantel’s tales retain a faintly otherworldly air.” —The Washington Post

About the Author

Hilary Mantel is the two-time winner of the Booker Prize for her best-selling novels, Wolf Hall, and its sequel, Bring Up the Bodies. The final novel of the Wolf Hall trilogy, The Mirror & the Light, debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list and won critical acclaim around the globe. Mantel is the author of over a dozen books, including A Place of Greater Safety, Beyond Black, and the memoir Giving Up the Ghost.

Praise For…

Praise for Books by Hilary Mantel

“She is our literary Michelangelo.”
O, The Oprah Magazine

“Every page is rich with insight...soul-deep characterization and cutting observational skill.”
USA Today

“Deep, suspenseful, chewy, complex and utterly transporting—truly a full banquet.”
Elizabeth Gilbert, WSJ. Magazine

“Sumptuous prose.”
The New Yorker

“A treasure on every page.”
The Times (UK)

“Majestic and often breathtakingly poetic…the writing comes as close to poetry as prose ever may.”
Simon Schama, Financial Times

Product Details
ISBN: 9781250825131
ISBN-10: 125082513X
Publisher: Holt Paperbacks
Publication Date: June 20th, 2023
Pages: 176
Language: English