My rating: 3 of 5 stars
From BBC Radio 4 – Book at Bedtime:
The stories selected from Hilary Mantel’s collection The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher for Book at Bedtime are dark and sharply observed. From the middle-class woman with powerful feelings about a former prime minister; the woman trapped in her apartment in Jeddah, to the two young girls who during the heat of the summer holidays venture into forbidden territory, each of the stories deal with psychological unease and at the same time are wickedly witty.
Hilary Mantel is the author of thirteen books. She is the first and only writer to have won the Man Booker Prize twice for her last two historical novels, Wolf Hall and Bringing Up the Bodies.
Harriet Walter is the reader.
Abridged by Julian Wilkinson
Produced by Elizabeth Allard.
Episode 1: Offences against the Person
In Hilary Mantel’s story the consequences of an illicit affair play out. At a Manchester solicitor’s office Vicky, a precocious but conflicted junior clerk is observing:
“I guessed why Nicolette had moved across the Square. It was more discreet for a senior partner to keep an affair extra-mural.”
Episode 2: Sorry to Disturb, Part One
Harriet Walter reads the first part of Hilary Mantel’s autobiographical tale. Isolated in a claustrophobic flat in Jeddah, life becomes increasingly off kilter when the doorbell rings.
Episode 3: Sorry to Disturb, Part Two
Harriet Walter reads the second part of Hilary Mantel’s autobiographical tale. Set in a claustrophobic flat in Jeddah, feelings of unease and cultural disconnect come to a head.
Episode 4: Comma
Comma is a sinister tale of childhood transgression, where the narrator Kitty is led astray by Mary, child of an ostracised local family. Mary is obsessed with what she has seen in the garden of a local family. The two little girls go on an illicit quest to find out more.
Episode 5: The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher
A knock at the door announces an unexpected visitor.