What sort of person writes fiction about the past? It is helpful to be acquainted with violence, because the past is violent. It is necessary to know that the people who live there are not the same as people now. It is necessary to understand that the dead are real, and have power over the living. It is helpful to have encountered the dead firsthand, in the form of ghosts.
In this week’s issue, Larissa MacFarquhar talks with historical fiction writer Hilary Mantel, author of “Wolf Hall,” about her life and writing process: http://nyr.kr/Q1M9nA
Photograph by Sofia Sanchez & Mauro Mongiello.