Beyond Black, Paperback
3.5 out of 5 (13 ratings)


A comically sinister tale of wicked spirits and suburban mediums from the Man Booker Prize-winning author of 'Wolf Hall' and 'Bring Up the Bodies'.

Alison Hart, a medium by trade, tours the dormitory towns of London's orbital ring road with her flint-hearted sidekick, Colette, passing on messages from beloved dead ancestors.

But behind her plump, smiling persona hides a desperate woman: she knows the terrors the next life holds but must conceal them from her wide-eyed clients.

At the same time she is plagued by spirits from her own past, who infiltrate her body and home, becoming stronger and nastier the more she resists...Shortlisted for the Orange Prize, Hilary Mantel's supremely suspenseful novel is a masterpiece of dark humour and even darker secrets.




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Showing 1 - 5 of 13 reviews.

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Review by

Clever creepy tale of a psychic working in 21st century England, her relationships, childhood and the people who believe her.

Review by

While I have no truck with the beliefs of psychics and their ilk, this novel hit home. An evocation of putridity in low income/lower class British life (note that a similar exploration of all that is putrid in high income/high class British life would be a different novel altogether).Alison is a saint and doesn't know it. Colette would like to be, but fails.Scary, funny and true.

Review by

Alison is a thirty-something medium who makes her living travelling from venue to small venue on the M.25, connecting people to their lost loved ones. Her life is pretty disorganised until she meets Colette, who’s just about to put an end to her failing marriage. Colette moves in and takes Alison’s affairs successfully in hand, but soon the relationship begins to disintegrate.For Alison’s world is inhabited by a cast of dead characters from her childhood who are no better than they were when alive – and that’s pretty damned evil. The terrible secret of that childhood, hidden even from Alison herself, is revealed gradually: there’s no plot as such, yet this book would be worth reading for the beautiful prose alone, and I promise that by the time you’ve turned the last page you’ll never see the world in quite the same way again. I enjoyed the telling descriptions of the psychics and their craft and the glimpses of Alison’s dark childhood. I’d have liked Colette to be less abrasive towards Alison, although this tension does drive the story forward. But the most amazing thing about this book is the way Hilary Mantel makes the reader suspend disbelief in the unseen dimension that exists all around us. Maybe she knows something the rest of don’t.

Review by

It committed two of the worst crimes in my pretentious yet lovable opinion; it blathered on about Dianna dieing and made several references to the twin towers. I get grounding a novel in the real world but I don't think referencing major events that we hear about until we are blue in the teeth isn't the way to do it. There was a degree of let's not explain that fully or give a definite ending to seem literary but at least it managed to be interesting, human, and, in parts, quite beautiful.

Review by

A novel of place and time. The time is the turn of the century and the place is London's orbital motorway the M25. This book reeks of the motels and amber flourescence of surburban England and populates it with the grotesque dead of medium Alison Hart's nasty childhood. A motorway read; leave copies in the Little Chefs and Travelodges. It's grim down South!

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