ONE OF THE joys of Hilary Mantel is that she always takes you by surprise. She is incapable of a mundane thought or a &tile sentence. This she has proved time and again in her novels and so it may be with something like awe that the reader will approach her autobiography. It is certainly quite unlike any other autobiography that this reviewer has ever read.
In the first place, there is no nonsense at all about being born on a certain day in a certain place on a dark and stormy night. The book opens in July 2000 with the death of Mantel's stepfather - a man who is gradually revealed to us in a