Banville on Mantel

This post was written by Friday blogger Annie Reid.

In the New York Review of Books, John Banville gives a long, fascinating review of Hilary Mantel’s Beyond Black with a startlingly topical lead:

The problem of evil is always with us, yet for most of us it is a problem only in theory. Evil is what happens to others, and those responsible for it are somehow never the people we know. We are assured that in the right — that is, the wrong, the catastrophically wrong — circumstances our neighbors will turn into a mob, most likely with us among them. But in our hearts we cannot quite believe it. What circumstances, we ask ourselves, would compel the Smiths and the Joneses to take to the streets with burning brands, baying for the blood of the innocent? And what social disaster, however terrible, would drive us to join them? All the same, it happens; history reverberates with the roars of the mob and the cries of its victims.

For more on Mantel, see Zadie Smith’s recco and assorted links here.


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