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A Place of Greater Safety [Format Kindle]

Hilary Mantel
5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (2 commentaires client)

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As 19th-century novelists Alexandre Dumas and Charles Dickens both discovered, the French Revolution makes for great drama. This lesson has not been lost on Hilary Mantel, whose A Place of Greater Safety brings a 20th-century sensibility to the stirring events of 1789. Mantel's approach is nothing if not ambitious: her three main characters, Georges-Jacques Danton, Maximilien Robespierre, and Camille Desmoulins, happen to have been major players in the early days of the revolution--men whose mix of ambition, idealism, and ego helped unleash the Terror and brought them eventually to their own tragic ends. As Mantel points out in her forward, none of these men was famous before the revolution; thus not a great deal is known about their early lives. What would constrain the biographer, however, is an open invitation to the fiction writer to let the imagination run wild; thus Mantel freely extrapolates from what is known of her protagonists' personalities and relationships with each other to construct their pasts.

This is a huge, complex novel, but the author has done her homework. Though Danton, Robespierre, and Desmoulins are at the center of her story, they are by no means the only major characters who populate the novel. Mantel uses historical figures as well as fictional ones to provide different points of view on the story. As she moves from one to the next, her narrative voice changes back and forth from first to third person as she sometimes grants us access to her characters' deepest thoughts and feelings, and other times keeps us guessing. A Place of Greater Safety is a happy marriage of literary and historical fiction, and a bona fide page-turner, as well. --Margaret Prior

From Publishers Weekly

"History is fiction," Robespierre observes at one point during British writer Mantel's monumental fictive account of the French Revolution, her first work to appear in this country. In her hands, it is a spellbinding read. Mantel recounts the events between the fall of the ancien regime and the peak of the Terror as seen through the eyes of the three protagonists--Robespierre, Danton and Desmoulins--and a huge cast of supporting characters (including brief appearances by the scrofulous Marat). The three revolutionaries, longtime acquaintances, spend their days scheming and fighting for a corruption-free French Republic, but their definitions of "corrupt" are as different as the men themselves. Robespierre is the fulcrum. Rigidly puritanical, he is able to strike terror into the most stalwart of hearts, and his implacable progress towards his goal makes him the most formidable figure of the age. As the lusty, likable and ultimately more democratic Danton observes, it is impossible to hurt anyone who enjoys nothing. The feckless, charming Camille Desmoulins, loved by all but respected by few, dances between the two, writing incendiary articles to keep the flames of revolt alive. Mantel makes use of diaries, letters, transcripts and her own creative imagination to create vivid portraits of the three men, their families, friends and the character of their everyday lives. Her gift is such that we hang on to every word, following bewildering arguments and Byzantine subplots with eager anticipation. This is historical fiction of the first order. History Book Club, QPB and BOMC alternates.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 1417 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 912 pages
  • Pagination - ISBN de l'édition imprimée de référence : 000725055X
  • Editeur : Harper Perennial; Édition : Re-issue (12 novembre 2009)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B002ZP8KNC
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
  • X-Ray :
  • Word Wise: Activé
  • Composition améliorée: Non activé
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (2 commentaires client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°19.504 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)
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Commentaires client les plus utiles
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 What a great book! 15 janvier 2014
Par Sylvie h.
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
I found this book difficult to get into at first, but then I fell in love with it. I read it once and then read it a second time. I have always been interested in the background of the French Revolution and found the characters and background in this book absolutely fascinating. It is really well researched and well written.
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2 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 un livre de cinquième etoiles 23 mars 2014
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
Les recherches sont très bien, les personnage sont croyable, le mise en scène est très bon. L’écriture est merveilleux , toutes sont bon donc un livre exceptionnelle.
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Amazon.com: 3.8 étoiles sur 5  209 commentaires
180 internautes sur 192 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 The historical novel at its finest 30 juin 1998
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
Mantel's very absorbing novel is good for two reasons. First, it evokes an excellent sense of time, of place, and of events, during the French Revolution. Possibly more than any historical work about the events of the Revolution, this novel captures the true zeitgeist of the times. Second, and closely linked to the first reason, is the author's vivid depiction of three characters - Danton, Robespierre and Desmoulins - as living, breathing, sinning creatures. Above all is the author's suggestion of the randomness of events, what we now proclaim History. Revolutions produce upheaval: they displace, promote or overthrow people. And as in life, the author ultimately suggests, we all seek that one thing: a place of greater safety. This book verges on an imperfect brilliance.
170 internautes sur 184 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Insert Wordsworth quote here. 5 juin 2004
Par EL - Publié sur Amazon.com
I have just finished this book, so I am not yet able to criticize it successfully from any angle. If there is any qualification to make, it is that you need to devote a good week to it, about four days to read, and three to get back to a person your friends will recognize.

After seven years of English and Journalism classes, I am not sure why Mantel's name did not come up once. There is nothing extraneous here, nothing fantastic to the point of unbelievability. The characters mature and change and determine and repel each other. No one is a saint nor, with one minor exception, do they deserve their sentences. In her Camille Desmoulins -for the majority of the novel, at least- there is a great literary archetype of exuberant, young egotism. At first, we blame him for nothing, then everything. At the last, he looks disturbingly like his reader.

Danton, by the same turn, starts out in much the vein of Stanislawa Przybyszewka's Georges-Jacques, the big lug. He gets away with things that you wonder if you'd forgive exuberant genius for, which- of course- you would. He is admirable as one true to his own interests if nothing else. Then, in one of the most skilled revelations in the literature I've read, his true, unwavering dedication to the principle behind the whole big mess he has helped create is fully uncovered, and too late. There are plenty of places to cry big, philosophical tears in this book.

There are plenty of places to laugh, too. Those familiar with Mantel's other works will recognize here her ongoing jabs at, well, pretty much everybody, but feminist representative Nicolas Condorcet here in particular for his jealousy of Robespierre over the female attention he felt should rightfully have been his. She gives her tragedy the sense of ridiculous humor it deserves. Even at its most productive, the guillotine traveled around more ubiquitously as an earring than on wheels.

Robespierre, somewhat suprisingly, comes across as an almost secondary character. In the end, though, it is him behind the narrative. His influence is why we forgive Saint-Just and Babette Duplay. While she is the product of her family's almost cult-like reverence for "the god upstairs", Saint-Just's hard line violent rhetoric is a logical echo and heir to Desmoulins and Danton's early encouragements of insurrection. Saint-Just appears late, and this follows the arc of the novel perfectly. Everything here, including Mantel's own use of language, artfully turns about in the last hundred pages and bites the hand that has been feeding it. (To stray from more familiar apocrypha.)

Mantel's book falls somewhere between "A Tale of Two Cities" and "War and Peace" as a literary accomplishment (as well as in weight.) This is an excellent novel.
43 internautes sur 43 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 an inspiration 21 mai 2006
Par Iceboxlogic - Publié sur Amazon.com
This novel is a benchmark in historical fiction---comparisons others have made here to Dickens and Tolstoy are not hyperbole. This is a stunning intellectual achievement in its depth of characterization and sheer narrative verve...and, to steal from one of the reviews on the paperback's back cover, all brought off with "Mantel's customary black sparkle."

There is a knowingness in this book about human nature which makes nearly everything else I've read lately taste of cardboard. Historicity aside---and it is very good history, if psychohistory of the Shakespearean stripe---the dialogue is so theatrically sharp, you wonder why no one has tried to film this. Short answer: it's probably [and thankfully] unfilmable.

There are gems [often drawn from sheer dint of research] any writer would be thrilled to have composed: the schoolboy Robespierre reciting a rote speech to Louis XV's closed carriage in the rain; the midnight meeting between Desmoulins and the Duc d'Orleans; Danton's slow circling of Lucile Desmoulins; the madness of the show trials, with the tumbrils already ordered, awaiting the walking dead.

Writers who look their art square in the eye know that they are called to write masterpieces: nothing else matters.

This, simply, is one. It will go down as one of the great fictional accomplishments of the 20th century.

And while you're at it, read Mantel's autobiography. It's terrifyingly real too: you'll understand where her eerily precise eye for human behaviour first saw practice.
100 internautes sur 107 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A sweeping masterpiece 23 août 2000
Par Kellyannl - Publié sur Amazon.com
This is quite likely ther greatest historical fiction ever written about the French Revolution.
It follows the careers of three of the revolution's architects - Georges Danton, who wants to be rich and famous; Camille Desmoulins, who wants just once in his life to make his father proud of him; and sensitive Robespierre, Camille's school friend who believes there's something wrong with the system but isn't out for blood.
Camille is center stage at the storming of the Bastille - a stage he will never quite again regain. Danton becomes involved in the political aftermath, and they drag Robespierre kicking and screaming into the bloodbath that follows.
Eventually Danton is softened by the death of his long-suffering wife and Camille is horrified when friends start to go to the guillotine. Robespierre, however, has indeed become the fanatic they wanted to make him. They realize he must be stopped - but with Danton involved in government corruption and Camille seen weeping publicly for a condemned prisoner and emotionally torn between his two friends, it may be too late...
The storytelling here is masterful, sympathies wavering from one of the trio to another - an amazing feat considering that the "Citizens" have to be among history's great mass murderers. The book is long, but nothing really could have been left out - the Revolution was this epic in scope. Other historical figures weave in and out of the narrative - an initially stupid and vain but ultimately moving Marie Antoinette; briefly but memorably a harried Lafayette who realizes they are at the brink of something far more horrible than the Revolution's older sister in America but can't change the tide of history by himself; and many others - above all a frightening Marat.
Mantel purposely kept Marat a supporting character because he was a bit older than the main characters and thus his story is a bit different than theirs. She hopes to write his story eventually, and I can hardly wait to see the results.
19 internautes sur 19 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 A Place of Greater Safety 10 janvier 2010
Par Jenny Q @ Let Them Read Books - Publié sur Amazon.com
Ms. Mantel has been in the press quite a bit lately thanks to the critical success of her latest, Wolf Hall: A Novel. Almost every review I've read mentions the unusual writing style she uses, so when I received this book for Christmas, I was curious. Her style is different, though not difficult as I had feared. She jumps around to different tenses and points of view; from omniscient to third to first, some scenes are in the present tense, some feature a character addressing the reader, some are written as screenplay with stage directions...it sounds like a big mess, but oddly enough, it works in this context and seems to enhance rather than detract from the story. To me, the style seemed to mirror and reinforce the frenetic, tumultuous and paranoid culture that was the French Revolution.

The story focuses on three of the most recognizable and controversial participants of the Revolution, beginning with childhood and following each of them through education and early careers to the point where they come together to help shape the beginnings of the Revolution.

It took me a week to get around to writing my review for this novel because I needed some time to digest it and decide how I wanted to rate it. There's no question this is an extremely well-written book, meticulously researched and peppered with excerpts from newspapers, diaries and letters; full of zippy, witty dialogue and poetic narrative. The scope of the book is huge but the author does a great job of bringing it into focus. It was a slow read for me because it is a dense book, each page packed with words and each word not to be missed for fear of misunderstanding, but I really enjoyed it, though I was rather depressed afterwards. It left me feeling a bit resentful towards the population of France during the Revolution, and with a sense of mourning for humanity's loss. It's not the type of book I could read over and over again.

The French Revolution was far different from its American counterpart. The French people were not united against one common foe, but divided into violent factions, each opposing a different foe and always opposing each other. Add to that the fact that the rest of the European powers decided it was a great time to take advantage of a weakened France and invade and you've got a recipe for a time of terror and confusion, where virtually the entire ruling class was executed along with many of the brightest and most capable minds of the time, and where there was, in fact, no place of greater safety.
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