Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Wolf Hall wins - Countdown ends!

History classes can now add Supplementary reading in classrooms with Man Booker Prize Announced. WOLF HALL by Hilary Mantel is the winner of this year's 'Man Booker Prize 2009' in England. Wolf Hall is the retelling of Thomas Cromwell's life - the blacksmith boy who became Henry VIII's right-hand man. Cromwell has been a genius and historians have admitted that he is the best administrator who changed medieval to modern nation state.

Here is a brief Product Description of Amazon:

'Lock Cromwell in a deep dungeon in the morning,' says Thomas More, 'and when you come back that night he'll be sitting on a plush cushion eating larks' tongues, and all the gaolers will owe him money.' England, the 1520s. Henry VIII is on the throne, but has no heir. Cardinal Wolsey is his chief advisor, charged with securing the divorce the pope refuses to grant. Into this atmosphere of distrust and need comes Thomas Cromwell, first as Wolsey's clerk, and later his successor. Cromwell is a wholly original man: the son of a brutal blacksmith, a political genius, a briber, a charmer, a bully, a man with a delicate and deadly expertise in manipulating people and events. Ruthless in pursuit of his own interests, he is as ambitious in his wider politics as he is for himself. His reforming agenda is carried out in the grip of a self-interested parliament and a king who fluctuates between romantic passions and murderous rages.

From one of our finest living writers, Wolf Hall is that very rare thing: a truly great English novel, one that explores the intersection of individual psychology and wider politics. With a vast array of characters, and richly overflowing with incident, it peels back history to show us Tudor England as a half-made society, moulding itself with great passion and suffering and courage.

You can find Wendy Smith's review of the book here on Washington Post and Christopher Tayler's review on Guardian, as I have not read nor got a copy of the book.

Well, the book I understand, calls for a broad readership. It reached the libraries and the book shops even before it got into the long list of Man Booker Prize. It is expected that classrooms might add this book for reading.

History as a Fiction and I don't like the idea to even add this to Supplementary reading in classroom! Yesterday, a 11th class child informed me that he has five books for Supplementary reading this year apart from other assignments and comprehensions. This month, he has 'Train to Pakistan by Khushwant Singh' and I really pity students when they have to read such books especially during Diwali time when it's time to enjoy festive season.

Train to Pakistan is the story of this isolated village that is plunged into the abyss of religious hate. It is also the story of a Sikh boy and a Muslim girl whose love endured and transcends the ravages of war. A timeless narrative by Khushwant Singh. A documentary of Punjab, its people and culture.

Well, aren't our children overburdened with too much of knowing History?

- ilaxi patel
Newspaper for kids
Author of Guardian of Angels

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