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Beyond Black


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/ Lead title An hilarious and sinister tale of dark secrets and secret forces in suburban England - Beyond Black is the new novel from the critically acclaimed author of Giving Up the Ghost. / Hilary Mantel is one of Britain's finest and most respected writers. / Beyond Black is her latest novel to appear since publication of Giving Up the Ghost, her much praised memoir. / Giving Up the Ghost has sold 10,000 copies in paperback in the UK. / Beyond Black received rave reviews in hardback, and has the potential to become a literary prizewinner.

About the Author

Hilary Mantel was born in Derbyshire. She was educated at a convent and later studied law. After ten years abroad in Africa and the Middle East, she returned to Britain in 1985 to make a career as a writer.


The 1997 death of Princess Diana and the 9/11 attacks form the backdrop of this unusual tale by Mantel (Giving Up the Ghost). Alison, a medium, tours her native England, rousing the departed and conveying their messages to audiences in search of spiritual solace. Meanwhile, the author tackles child abuse, female friendship, racial dynamics, eating disorders, environmental destruction, and sexuality, reminding readers that even those close to the spirit world have to contend with contemporary social issues. While readers unschooled in the wiles of psychic phenomenon will likely find parts of this novel tedious, Alison and her intrepid business partner, Colette, are so interestingly quirky that even when the novel veers into New Age babble it retains some appeal. Spirit guides mingle with shysters, and Tarot card readers intersect with crystal gazers, as Alison and Colette deftly navigate the British suburbs. Recommended for all libraries with occult and spirituality collections.-Eleanor J. Bader, Brooklyn, NY Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

'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

Instead of celebrating the mystical side of "sensitives," the people who travel England's contemporary psychic "fayre" circuit, Mantel (A Change of Climate, etc.) concentrates on the potential banality of spiritualism in her latest novel, a no-nonsense exploration of the world of public and private clairvoyance. Colette is a down-on-her-luck event planner fresh from a divorce when she attends a two-day Psychic Extravaganza, her "introduction to the metaphorical side of life." There, Alison, a true clairvoyant, "reads" Colette, sees her need for a new life-as well as her potential-and hires her as a Girl Friday. As Colette's responsibilities grow, and the line between the professional and the personal blurs, Colette takes over Alison's marketing, builds her Web site, plans for a book and buys a house with her. Colette also serves as a sort of buffer between Alison and the multitude of spirits who beleaguer her. (Alison's spirit guide, Morris, "a little bouncing circus clown," proves especially troublesome.) Mantel's portraits of the two leading characters as well as those of the supporting cast-both on and off this mortal coil-are sharply drawn. This witty, matter-of-fact look at the psychic milieu reveals a supernatural world that can be as mundane as the world of carpet salesmen and shopkeepers. (May) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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