Hilary Mantel

Diet of Vodka and Asparagus

Dreams of Dead Women's Handbags

By

William Heinemann 160pp £10.95 order from our bookshop

There are eleven pieces in this book, and at least two of them are triumphs; perhaps to ask for any more would be greedy. London, Eastbourne, unnamed suburbs are the territory; the emotional territory is that of wilful, self-conscious eccentricity, and of loneliness – whether in a child, as in All the Pubs in Soho; in an old lady, living out her days in a seaside hotel, in Where the Carpet Ends; or of a writer, marooned in the country, in The Thirty-first of October. In these stories, inanimate objects are pregnant with malice, animals are more perceptive than humans; sometimes worms turn, or the chilly currents of waste and regret are momentarily defied.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • From the Archive: Martyn Bedford on Ian McEwan's 'Atonement' ,
    • In 'Silenced Voices' reports the ongoing story of the human rights lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, who has been… ,
    • The mystery of Jack the Ripper's identity has long been agonised over. But what do we know about his victims?… ,
    • A piece of Literary Review history from way back in 1983: John Haffenden talks to the great Iris Murdoch. ,
    • Britain’s only travelling lit fest, the Garden Museum Literary Festival is heading to Houghton Hall, Norfolk, for a… ,
    • 'The 19th-century German sage is not my idea of a pleasant travel companion' goes hiking with Friedr… ,
    • If you want ideas about what to read next, sign up to our free email newsletter, and get book reviews, archive mate… ,