Trapped in a Tudor time warp of plague and paranoia
There is not much light to be had as Hilary Mantel’s historical novel mirrors lockdown claustrophobia
Years from now, what tokens will bring lockdown rushing back to us? Opening a drawer in search of the spare key, we might uncover a rumpled mask, or, in the cupboard, find yeast packets meant for homemade bread that wasn't made. Spring 2020, long and strange, will be present again.
My coronavirus madeleine, which others in bookish households might share, will be a sapphire-blue copy of Hilary Mantel’s The Mirror and the Light. Admittedly, the third book in the Thomas Cromwell trilogy is a clichéd piece of middle-class clutter; a thing that, like the yeast, we dragged into the house when we harboured the asinine notion that a pandemic was an opportunity for self-improvement. But I, and I say this with bourgeois pride, have read the thing. And I have a recommendation. If the book remains a purely decorative item in your house, think carefully before diving in.