Learning To Talk: Short Stories
- HarperCollins Publishers
- Publication Date:
- 07 July 2003
- Anthologies (non Poetry)
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This short collection of five stories is, sad to say, somewhat lackluster. In fact, the best past of the book was the last section, a preview of Mantel's memoir, <i>Giving Up the Ghost</i>, which I look forward to reading in full. The stories all depict episodes in the lives of children growing up in dreary villages in the north of England in the 1950s. They struggle with class barriers defined by their vowels, names, broken families, and aspirations. Apparently, Mantel was following the mantra of creative writing instructors everywhere: write what you know. She's much better, I think, as a historical novelist. The stories do have their moments of originality and humor, but I found them fairly bleak for the most part.
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