Beyond Black

Beyond Black

Book - 2005
Average Rating:
4
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Hailed as a "writer of subtlety and depth," Hilary Mantel turns her dark genius on the world of psychics in this smart, unsettling novel (Joyce Carol Oates)

A paragon of efficiency, Colette took the next natural step after finishing secretarial school by marrying a man who would do just fine. After a sobering, do-it-yourself divorce, Colette is at a loss for what to do next. Convinced that she is due an out-of-hand, life-affirming revelation, she strays into the realm of psychics and clairvoyants, hungry for a whisper to set her off in the right direction. At a psychic fair in Windsor she meets the charismatic Alison.

Alison, the daughter of a prostitute, beleaguered during her childhood by the pressures of her connection to the spiritual world, lives in a different kind of solitude. She cannot escape the dead who speak to her, least of all the constant presence of Morris, her low-life spiritual guide. An expansive presence onstage, Alison at once feels her bond with Colette, inviting her to join her on the road as her personal assistant and companion.

Troubles spiral out of control when the pair moves to a suburban wasteland in what was once the English countryside and take up with a spirit guide and his drowned therapist. It is not long before Alison's connection to the place beyond black threatens to uproot their lives forever. This is Hilary Mantel at her finest- insightful, darkly comic, unorthodox, and thrilling to read.
Publisher: New York : Henry Holt & Co., 2005
ISBN: 9780805073560
0805073566
Characteristics: 365 p

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gendeg
May 01, 2015

Overall, Beyond Black is a hard book to like and embrace. There’s a choked grimness to the characters’ lives. The vitriol is thick. The banality of the evil that lurks among Alison’s spiteful ghosts can be overwhelmingly depressing, long after you’ve stopped laughing and want to turn away in horror.

This story is disturbing and feels like a trip down a very dark rabbit hole. At the bottom of the hole is child neglect and child sexual abuse. The resolution is poor and the two main characters find a strange truth about their lives which does not suggest to the reader that they will ever recover. I would NOT recommend this book.

A darkly funny novel about the odd relationships formed among the living and the dead. A creepy, humorous contemporary, ghost story

c
c_anderson
May 27, 2010

This is a superb book, and incredibly creepy.

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