Book Reviews

Beyond Black by Hilary Mantel

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List Price: £8.99


Paperback: 480 Pages.

Published: 04 March 2010 by Fourth Estate

Edition: paperback / softcover

ISBN: 9780007157761

EAN: 9780007157761

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.


4.0 Stars4.0 Stars4.0 Stars4.0 Stars  by Debra Found

Dark Humour

What can one say as an introduction to this book? Unusual it most certainly is.


is a psychic with a very annoying and frankly disgusting spiritual

guide. She does the circuit of the home counties, the fairs, the psychic

nights and the private readings. She meets up with Colette and they

form a partnership with Colette as her business manager. As the book

progresses we learn a lot more about Alison and her past.

This is an

unusual and irreverant look at the psychic world. It doesn't poke fun at

psychics but rather looks at the pitfalls of having people whispering

in your ear, seeing people that other people don't and having to cope

with the less wholesome members of the dead world.

Alison is a great

character who is many ways is larger than life but inside has far more

depth than that. Her character continues to unfold as the book develops

providing some very insightful and sad depth of character.

Many people have commented on the humour in this book. There is much humour but it is wry, dry & in places very dark.


Mantel is a skilled author. Her way with words is excellent and her

ability to provide depth to people and places makes her books stand out

from the crowd. This book is certainly a long way in content from "Wolf

Hall" but the author does give this the same vitality and depth.


really enjoyed this book. I did find it was slightly slow in places but

never enough to make me think about not completing it. I am very glad

that I did complete this book - the ending worked very well.

I found

this book on my "Too be read" shelf (well..........shelves actually). It

has been lurking there for a while, overlooked and unread. I wonder

what other interesting books I have overlooked. Time to revisit these

shelves I think.

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