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Ideally Qualified

Having just finished Hilary Mantel’s A Change of Climate, I arrived at the notes about the author; not a brief biog, but an interview with Sarah O’Reilly, who asked if Hilary could detect an underlying theme in the body of her work.

“I was brought up a Catholic and that’a very hard thing to shake off. In an ideal world all writers have to a Catholic childhood, or belong to some other religion which does the equivalent for you, because Catholicism tells you at a very early age that the world is not what you see; that in fact beyond appearances there is another reality, and it is a far more important reality.” There is more, but she concludes: “Put idea like that into a child’s head when their imagination is forming and they do their work.”

Having struggled from an early age to distinguish so-called facts from fiction – Noah and the Whale/Jack and the Beanstalk, angels/fairies; and only later coming to realise that perhaps less content was intended to be taken literally than is – I feel, for once, that I may have an advantage.