I usually like Hilary Mantel’s work, but I was disappointed by this collection of short stories.
Most stories started well, showing promise with vivid evocative imagery, but stalled instead of leading to a satisfying conclusion. The writer’s emphasis seemed to be on creating a mood (mostly dark) rather than a completed narrative journey.
For me, the satisfying exceptions are the titular The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher, an “alternative history” with hints of dark comedy, and another called Winter Break which describes a wild, countryside taxi ride leading to a frightening destination.
While the rest of the collection had moments of appeal, they didn’t fulfil the expectations I have for a story. They had a repeated unfinished feel where I was left wondering what the point had been.
I’ve come across story collections like that before where the collection as a whole was saved by the subtle drawing together by cross references and overlaps between stories.
Maybe I missed it, but that saving feature was lacking here.