Author(s): 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.
Shortlisted for Orange Prize 2006.
'Laceratingly observant, a masterpiece of wit, heavy with atmosphere. It is also gloriously insolent and slyly funny: full of robust, uncluttered prose and searing moments.' Independent 'Pins elusive middle England to the page in all its creepiness: a place blank and disconnected, yet fatally self-absorbing' Rachel Cooke, Observer 'An elegant, atmospheric tale and a nuanced portrait full of ironies.' Tatler 'Beyond Black is chilling, creepy and endlessly inventive.' Kate Saunders, The Times 'Hilary Mantel has done something extraordinary. She has taken the ethereal halfway house between heaven and hell, between the living and the dead and nailed it on the page.' Fay Weldon, Guardian 'A deep, disturbing, violently amusing and subversive work, testimony to the formidable strength of Mantel's imagination, which splits the human world so convincingly between the forces of good and evil. It is Mantel's compassion for the ordinary people who line and die in such unlovely places that illuminates this dark book and creates its black lustre." Ruth Scurr, Daily Telegraph
Hilary Mantel is one of our most important living writers. She is the author of eleven books, including 'A Place of Greater Safety', 'Giving Up the Ghost' and, most recently, 'Beyond Black', which was shortlisted for the 2006 Orange Prize.