Jaw-dropping moments in fiction

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Monday, March 2, 2015
I've just finished reading Bring Up the Bodies for the second time. Friends looked at me aghast - why would I reread such a lengthy book when it has just been screened on TV?
The answer is simple - it is such a great story, and Hilary Mantel writes it so well.
The scene where Henry is reported dead, knocked off his horse at a jousting tournament, and Cromwell is summoned. We are there in the confusion as Cromwell sees the faces around him anticipate their own bid for power and realises that cries of 'Long live the King' are myth. An amazing scene that I read three times just for sheer pleasure.
No matter the acting ability of Mark Rylance, this scene, written as Mantel saw it is art. We see a point of view with no distractions.
However, such wonderful jaw-dropping scenes are rare: the end of Life of Pi the narrator is pushed to tell his true story.
Several novels by Ian McEwan and Marilynne Robinson show they are both masters of jaw dropping moments - I won't detail any in fear of creating spoilers. 
But are these moments in fiction personal or do we share them? Let me know your jaw-dropping moments of fiction, and maybe we can share.


Tags: "bring up bodies" "wolf hall" "life of pi" "jaw-dropping" 
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Yvonne Barlow Editor at Hookline Books - where book clubs and readers choose the novels that go to print.

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