The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher

The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher

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As an antidote to the over indulgence of this holiday season, tuck Hilary Mantel's short story collection into your bag. The writing is clear and crisp, much like the Judi Dench accented voice I hear as I read each page.  Although, unlike her award-winning, best sellers Wolf Hall and Bringing Up the Bodies, this book of short stories is firmly place in modern times.  

The stories expand on critical moments.  Varied situations include a couple's harried ride from airport to resort to the decline of a sibling dealing with an eating disorder. The stories each bring their own intensity to bear as the characters tried to survive the ordinary.  

For instance, this passage as a woman searches the train station for an encounter with the dead father she thinks she saw on a train: 

So I hunted for him, peeping into W.H. Smith and the Costa Coffee boutique. My mind tried to provide occasions to which it could go back, but none occurred. I coveted something sweet, a glass of hot chocolate to warm my hands, an Italian wafer dusted with cocoa powder. But my mind was cold and my intention urgent.
— The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher

The provocatively title of the last story, which serves as the collection title, imagines a more violent end for Britain's polarizing prime minister from the 1980s.  The power of the story is once again in the simplicity of suburban setting and the ordinariness of the assassin's lair. 

About the Author
Hilary Mantel is the two-time winner of the Man Booker Prize for her best-selling novels Wolf Hall and its sequel, Bringing Up the Bodies, which is a fictionalized account of the rise of Thomas Crowell in King Henry VIII's court.  The Royal Shakespeare Company's adaptation is coming to Broadway in March 2015. 

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About Lori Theisen

Lori Theisen is a co-founder and managing editor of The Literary Cafe. A journalism major before she got swept up into the world of corporate marketing, she always wanted to indulge her passion of books, culture and food.