Learning to Talk: Book summary and reviews of Learning to Talk by Hilary Mantel

Learning to Talk

Stories

by Hilary Mantel

Learning to Talk by Hilary Mantel X
Learning to Talk by Hilary Mantel
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' rating:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Published Jun 2022
    176 pages
    Genre: Short Stories

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this book

Book Summary

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.

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 child 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.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $39 for 12 months or $12 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews

"Learning to Talk provides beautifully written glimpses into Hilary Mantel's upbringing, and her Preface places the stories into her autobiographical context. This provides the background that this was written over many years as an exploration of self-history, reflecting the growth of a talented woman with a complicated background. Yet, readers are only given limited snapshots and left wanting more, leaning against a windowpane and gazing longingly at a tightly confined and curated world populated with rich language and prose." - Jennifer Hon Khalaf, BookBrowse

"In seven deftly crafted stories that she calls 'autoscopic' rather than autobiographical, two-time Man Booker Prize winner Mantel takes a 'distant, elevated perspective' on her life growing up in the English Midlands region...Sharp, unsentimental tales from a writer haunted by her past." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"[E]xpertly crafted...A highly recommended collection quietly probing our deep, everyday sorrows." - Library Journal (starred review)

"Two-time Booker winner Mantel departs from the broad canvas of Tudor history for a revelatory collection drawing on her childhood in a northern English moorland village...Throughout, the author's humanity shines through." - Publishers Weekly

This information about Learning to Talk was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $39 for 12 months or $12 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Author Information

Hilary Mantel Author Biography

Photo: John Haynes

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.

Author Interview

Name Pronunciation
Hilary Mantel: man-TELL

Other books by Hilary Mantel at BookBrowse
  • Wolf Hall jacket

5 more...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $39 for 12 months or $12 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

More Recommendations

Readers Also Browsed . . .

more short stories...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $39 for 12 months or $12 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Join BookBrowse

and discover exceptional books
for just $3.25 per month.

Find out more


Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: Iona Iverson's Rules for Commuting
    Iona Iverson's Rules for Commuting
    by Clare Pooley
    For the many years that I've been reading, one realization has always come to mind for me after ...
  • Book Jacket: We Had to Remove This Post
    We Had to Remove This Post
    by Hanna Bervoets
    It's not about money. Kayleigh, the protagonist and narrator of We Had to Remove This Post, a newly ...
  • Book Jacket: River of the Gods
    River of the Gods
    by Candice Millard
    The Nile River has provided vital resources for millennia, serving as a source of water, food and ...
  • Book Jacket: Horse
    Horse
    by Geraldine Brooks
    Geraldine Brooks creates a powerful backstory for 19th-century thoroughbred racehorse Lexington, ...

Book Club Discussion

Book Jacket
Hamnet
by Maggie O'Farrell
"Of all the stories...about Shakespeare’s life, [Hamnet] is so gorgeously written that it transports you."
The Boston Globe

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Lies I Tell
    by Julie Clark

    The new thriller from the New York Times bestselling author of The Last Flight!

  • Book Jacket

    Daughters of the Flower Fragrant Garden
    by Zhuqing Li

    A beautifully woven family memoir that coalesces into a vivid history of two very different Chinas.

Win This Book!
Win Where the Crawdads Sing

Win a signed copy of Where the Crawdads Sing

In celebration of the movie release on July 15, we have three signed copies to give away.

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

T O Thing W H T F I F I

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.