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Beyond Black by Hilary Mantel
  

Beyond Black

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We are very sorry but we have yet to review this book ourselves. However, as it has been selected for the Man Booker 2005 long list, we wanted to give you the opportunity to download an extract and let you make up your own mind. Please watch this space for our view of this potential prize winner.

If you like Hilary Mantel you might also like to read books by Julie Myerson, Rachel Cusk and A M Homes.

Synopsis

Beyond Black by Hilary Mantel

Alison Hart is a medium by trade: dead people talk to her, and she talks back. With her flat-eyed, flint-hearted sidekick, Colette, she tours the dormitory towns of London's orbital road, passing on messages from dead ancestors: 'Granny says she likes your new kitchen units.'

Alison's ability to communicate with spirits is a torment rather than a gift. Behind her plump, smiling and bland public persona is a desperate woman. She knows that the next life holds terrors that she must conceal from her clients. Her days and nights are haunted by the men she knew in her childhood, the thugs and petty criminals who preyed upon her hopeless, addled mother, Emmie. They infiltrate her house, her body and her soul; the more she tries to be rid of them, the stronger and nastier they become.

This tenth novel by Hilary Mantel, the critically acclaimed author of Giving Up the Ghost, is a witty and deeply sinister story of dark secrets and dark forces, set in an England that jumps at its own shadow, a country whose banal self-absorption is shot through by fear of the engulfing dark.

Reviews

Serious reading with light(ish) undertones. Unusual and Unnerving novel.â Sunday Telegraph

It's a very funny book but it's also a very dreadful book in the most literal sense of the word: the novel's fabric pulses with dread, and you are on the edge of your seat hoping that Alison will survive. Beyond Black is a hugely ambitious, daring book about the nature of good and evil, and for me it is Hilary Mantel's most powerful novel to date.' Helen Dunmore

About the Author

Hilary Mantel

Hilary Mantel is the first woman and the first British author to win the Man Booker prize twice and the first author ever to win the Man Booker Prize and Costa Book Award in the same year. At 60, she is only the third double winner alongside J.M. Coetzee and Peter Carey. She is also the first person to win the prize for two novels in a trilogy, following her success in 2009 with Wolf Hall.

Hilary Mantel was born in northern Derbyshire in 1952. She was educated at a convent school in Cheshire and went on to the LSE and Sheffield University, where she studied law. After university she was briefly a social worker in a geriatric hospital, and much later used her experiences in her novels Every Day is Mother's Day and Vacant Possession. In 1977 she went to live in Botswana with her husband, then a geologist. In 1982 they moved on to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, where she would set her third novel, Eight Months on Ghazzah Street.

Her first novel was published in 1985, and she returned to the UK the following year. In 1987 she was awarded the Shiva Naipaul Memorial Prize for travel writing, and became the film critic of the Spectator. Her fourth novel, Fludd, was awarded the Cheltenham Festival Prize, the Southern Arts Literature Prize, and the Winifred Holtby Prize. Her fifth novel, A Place of Greater Safety, won the Sunday Express Book of the Year Award.

A Change of Climate, published in 1993, is the story of an East Anglian family, former missionaries, torn apart by conflicts generated in Southern Africa in the early years of Apartheid. An Experiment in Love published in 1995, is a story about childhood and university life, set in London in 1970. It was awarded the Hawthornden Prize.

Photograph © Jane Bown

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Book Info

Publication date

3rd May 2005

Author

Hilary Mantel

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Publisher

Harpercollins Publishers

Format

Hardback

Categories

Literary Fiction
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ISBN

9780007157754

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