Beyond Black (2019)

Beyond Black Hilary Mantel Beyond Black A New York Times Notable Book of the YearColette and Alison are unlikely cohorts one a shy drab beanpole of an assistant the other a charismatic corpulent psychic whose connection to the spiritual
  • Title: Beyond Black
  • Author: Hilary Mantel
  • ISBN: 9780312426057
  • Page: 220
  • Format: Paperback
Beyond Black Hilary Mantel A New York Times Notable Book of the YearColette and Alison are unlikely cohorts one a shy, drab beanpole of an assistant, the other a charismatic, corpulent psychic whose connection to the spiritual world torments her When they meet at a fair, Alison invites Colette at once to join her on the road as her personal assistant and companion Troubles spiral out of control wA New York Times Notable Book of the YearColette and Alison are unlikely cohorts one a shy, drab beanpole of an assistant, the other a charismatic, corpulent psychic whose connection to the spiritual world torments her When they meet at a fair, Alison invites Colette at once 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 It is not long before 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.
Beyond Black Hilary Mantel

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    Published :2019-08-09T12:14:04+00:00

One thought on “Beyond Black

  1. BillKerwin

    There s not much here in the way of plot, but still there s a lot to recommend in this novel about a professional psychic who really does see ghosts plying her trade in the working class suburbs of London The profession itself becomes an excellent metaphor for writing the spirits though genuine are often difficult to discern, and even when discerned do not always appear when summoned, and therefore the medium is forced to make do with psychological manipulation, theatrical effects, and charlatan [...]

  2. Kinga

    Oh god Where do I even begin Lots of reviewers complained they didn t know where the book was going Well, I didn t know either, but I thought it was a good thing Don t you just love when you don t know where the book is going Beyond Black was going in all sorts of directions at once It was a story about Alison, a medium, who can see and talk to ghosts and also happens to be very fat It was a story about her obnoxious, nasty assistant cum manager who weirdly reminded me of my very own assistant a [...]

  3. Melki

    It s raw, this kind of work, and near the knuckle unsupported by music, lighting, video screen, it s just you and them and the dead, the dead who may oblige or may not, who may confuse and mislead and laugh at you, who may give you bursts of foul language very close up to your ear, who may give you false names and lay false trails just to see you embarrassed.Alison is a medium and a consummate performer She soothes her audience, gains their trust and even shuts down hecklers with a few well chos [...]

  4. Paul

    Intermittently funny, sad, tragic, malicious and rather ghoulish novel good in parts, but overlong and repetitive It is certainly well written Mantel is a great writer, as Wolf Hall has shown The plot meanders rather a lot and doesn t really go anywhere The premise is simple Alison is a psychic medium, a good one, but rather disorganised Colette becomes her sidekick and PA and organises her life The dead, however are less easy to organise Here s the key to the book The dead are no different to t [...]

  5. Blair

    Every time I told someone I was reading this book, they inevitably mentioned Wolf Hall, Mantel s most recent novel and winner of the 2009 Booker Prize, and tended to assume I d chosen Beyond Black because I d already read Wolf Hall In fact, the latter doesn t interest me at all I can t remember where I first saw Beyond Black, but it was the plot outline that drew me in a black comedy about a professional psychic, her assistant, and the spirits that haunt them along with a quote from Philip Pullm [...]

  6. Chris

    This is one of those books You know those books, the ones that aren t bad, but aren t good, but you re not entirely upset you read, but they don t really inspire you to find anything by the author Thankfully, I already Wolf Hall so I know she can do better.It s one of those books that you know could be better if something, but you re not sure what, was better or different Yet, you feel like your stupid and not quite getting it Until you realize The New York Times took ages to reveiw Nation so m [...]

  7. Eliane

    A page turner The first we ve had for a while By turns funny, ghastly and frightening This book stayed with me, causing nightmares The spirits inhabiting this world are thoroughly believable I loved the conceit that just because a person is dead, it doesn t make what they have to say any interesting than when they were alive I also loved the commercial world of the mediums with charlatans and everyone trying to make a quick buck Some parts made me laugh out loud Also thoroughly Dickensian in its [...]

  8. Holly

    This is the first Mantel I ve read since the late 1990s when I discovered Eight Months on Ghazzah Street, A Change of Climate, and An Experiment in Love I ll get to the Wolf Hall business at some point Here we have two eccentric English ladies and a foul mouthed dwarf spook , and sometimes the relationship between the women reminded me of a marriage For example this exchange, when one character retracts a suggestion she s made to the other, since the other keeps insisting she can t take it on I [...]

  9. Laurie

    This novel is both horrifying and maliciously funny Alison Al Hart, overweight medium, is making a good living, giving private readings and doing psychic fairs, but is always alone at least, where living people are concerned She can never escape from the dead, who follow her and bother her constantly And here s the thing people don t get any smarter or nicer when they die They don t undergo any spiritual awakening If they were nasty and mean in life, that s how they are in death Al, survivor of [...]

  10. S.A.

    Beyond Black is an uneven book that doesn t seem to know what it wants to be when it grows up The main character, a genuine psychic named Alison, is a character you develop great sympathy for during the story The storyline following how she unravels the questions about her tormented childhood is creepy and fascinating She seeks to discover why dead people haunt her, especially a gang of wretched characters she calls fiends who act determined to make her life miserable.The main problem the story [...]

  11. Fionnuala

    This is the third book by Mantel that I ve read and I m very struck by how different it is from the other two There s almost no common ground except her tendency to slip back and forth between the two main characters points of view constantly, even sometimes within the same paragraph The subject matter is fascinating and as usual, very well researched I did wonder at times how she planned to wrap it up it is a bit shapeless in the middle but the end is suitably fitting.

  12. Tim

    Well, I thoughtEveryday is Mother s Day was dark Wow There are some parallels between those two books as well A character in Everyday is Mother s Day is haunted by ghosts, just as Allison, the main character in this novel is haunted At first it seems a straight up ghost story, but don t be fooled Gradually Allison begins to uncover the connection between the ghosts she sees and her traumatic past I liked that approach to her problems It made them interesting and mysterious I did feel the book [...]

  13. Chaitra

    I adore Hilary Mantel s Wolf Hall books I hadn t read anything else by her I went into this blind All I knew about the book was what Phillip Pullman said about it, that it was an excellent ghost story It was right at the front of my copy s cover No blurb accompanied it Maybe this helped, because I wasn t burdened with any expectations Alison Hart is the heart of this book a fat psychic with a problematic spirit guide She hires an assistant, Colette, a divorcee who is at loose ends with her life, [...]

  14. Ruthiella

    This book is relentless, like winding up a malevolent jack in the box, never knowing when the f er is going to spring on you The pace is slow, teasing really the story often cryptic and elusive Allison is a medium, no faker, the real deal Only, it isn t glamorous or even particularly useful She can t do lotto numbers or see into the future, but she can hear the dead, and what a clamorous, mostly nasty bunch they are She takes on Colette as her manager to help her run her business, especially sin [...]

  15. Dox

    This book doesn t have much in the way of plot, although some revelations about the main character s past are finally gotten to by the end of the book, after 400 pages of hinting The characters were interesting for a while, but the slowness of the story moving forward makes the reader tired of them Also, tired of all the secondary characters And almost every character in the book is nasty and unpleasant in some way In a lot of ways, the book is very brutal and grotesque, and bloody and gross, an [...]

  16. Storyheart

    So dark and scary and yet so witty Mantel is now firmly on my favourite author list.First read 2013 re read 2017.

  17. Veronica

    Black, black humour beyond black, indeed I thought it was time I read some Hilary Mantel, and someone recommended this The first couple of chapters are mesmerising After that it gets a little uneven, and it s overlong, but the best bits are stunning My favourite part was the section where Alison and her assistant Colette buy and live in a house on a new build estate Mantel is hideously and hilariously precise in her skewering of life in the dullest bits of the Home Counties, just beyond the M25 [...]

  18. Sonya

    UPDATE Fun podcast by the folks at Backlisted Podcast on the brilliance of this novel Listen hereHilary Mantel is masterful in building immersive worlds inside her novels, and Beyond Black is no exception It s perhaps overlong, but the main story is rolled out meticulously over 400 pages The element that work best for me is the abject loneliness of Alison, the novel s sad, bereft, and ultimately outcast protagonist She s a psychic whose life is possessed by terrible fiends , grotesque and surpri [...]

  19. Jayne Charles

    There was a point, around about chapter 9, when I was sure this book and I were going part company The plot headed off in strange directions, and it was like chasing shadows along dark alleyways Up to that point the story, involving a medium and her business partner, had been illuminating, quite funny and very entertaining But there is a darker side to this novel and its grip on the plot increased as the pages turned It is an odd mix lighthearted banter with the shadow of grim events in a charac [...]

  20. Malia

    I read this for a lit course, and in that respect, it certainly offers plenty to analyze, that said, it is far from enjoyable In fact, I really had to force my way through this book.This is the first and likely destined to remain the only book I have read by Mantel The story revolves around Alison, a medium, and Colette, her manager But don t expect any fun, charming looking into the crystal ball type of story This is dark, very dark Beyond Black I had to go there It is also mighty long In fact, [...]

  21. Frank Ryan

    It isn t the sort of book I would normally read, though I read quite widely, like most authors I don t believe in clairvoyance, or mediums, or ghosts, or anything of that arcane nature But Hilary Mantel is a very good writer and she kind of seduces you into this most peculiar world In essence this is a kind of ghost story It is a very different ghost story from any other I have read The two main characters, Alison Hart the obese but kindly and likeable medium and her strait laced not so likeable [...]

  22. Alan

    What I like about it is the ordinariness of the characters in contrast to their dealings with the afterlife It s dark and hilarious and a bit moving too.2006 notebook story of the M25 medium and her uptight assistant with their unruly guests from the other side and a possibly violent murky past covered over with humour and forgetfulness Full of marvellous scenes, great wit and humour Things contained, everybody with some incredibly charged hinterland within and on the surface dull I love Mart in [...]

  23. Mark

    This has to be one of the worst books I have ever had the misfortune to read I read this book for a book group, and not one of us who was there had anything good to say about it, no plot, characters were badly written, can t believe this was written by the same person who wrote Wolf Hall Would have given this book no stars if I could, do not read this book at any cost

  24. Genevieve

    Here s the perfect set up for a black comedy an overweight, repressed psychic named Alison must confront her own ghosts and not just symbolic ghosts, like mere stand ins of desires and secrets, but actual, real ghosts the Fiends she calls them What makesBeyond Black byHilary Mantel really interesting is that Alison is the real deal In a live performance in front of an audience in one of the dramatic scenes in the book, we re treated to her special skills in action Nothing sensationalist or jaw [...]

  25. Philip

    In her novel Beyond Black, Hilary Mantel presents a series of characters who ought to be Mr and Mrs, or Uncle and Auntie Normal They all live near the M25, London s orbital motorway and inhabit places as interesting as Slough, Maidenhead and Uxbridge Even distant Essex gets a mention But many of these people aren t normal, or average, or even alive, for that matter Many of them are in fact the dreaded four letter d word, the word that the book s principal character prefers not to say out loud.Al [...]

  26. Christine

    Major Spoiler Alert Don t read this if you haven t read the book I enjoyed Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, so I was looking forward to reading Beyond Black I had to give the book just three stars, though, because it was very hard to get through the characters and tone were depressing and unremittingly unpleasant That said, its complexity kept me going At first I took at face value that the psychic, Alison, was surrounded by evil, low life, interfering ghosts from her abused and poverty strick [...]

  27. Kate

    thoughts, 19.3.17.Even brilliant than I had remembered it being, which is saying something Mantel is viciously funny But no two ways about it She was on the game Gypsies and jockeys and sailors, it was all the same to her She used to go down to Portsmouth She went off after a circus once, prostituting herself to dwarfs and the like, God forgive her, foreigners There s nothing at all gauzy about her writing she is ruthless, and her characters are painfully true to life This book is the psychic [...]

  28. Diletta

    C un progredire verso la conoscenza che non viene mai ricompensato in questo romanzo, ci sono tutti i sintomi per riuscire a raggiungere qualcosa, ma non si riesce mai ad afferrare una soluzione reale Ci sono prima di tutto gli spiriti, che non sono semplici anime passate oltre , ma esseri quasi viventi da temere con una certa riverenza I fantasmi non sono buoni Non sono tutti dei gran simpaticoni che rivelano a chi ancora vivo dove trovare una busta nascosta in casa zeppa di banconote, non semp [...]

  29. russell barnes

    The word on the street in SW14 was this was almost unreadable compared to Wolf Hall, mainly I suspect because rather than dealing with the infinitely fashionable machinations of the Tudor court, Beyond Black is a grim, brutish helterskelter through dystopian Aldershot, with two people you don t really like.They got it half right it is grim, brutish and bleak, the two central characters, Alison and Colette, aren t exactly laugh a minute, and I m willing to argue Aldershot is fairly dystopian at [...]

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