OVERRIDE

Beyond Black

A Novel

Hilary Mantel

Picador

A New York Times Notable Book
A Newsday Best Book of the Year
Shortlisted for the Orange Prize
 
A paragon of efficiency, well-schooled in the mundane tasks of an average existence, Colette took the next natural step after finishing secretarial school—marrying a man who would do just fine. After a sobering do-it-yourself divorce, Colette, for this first time, is at a loss as to what to do next. Convinced that she deserves a life-affirming revelation, she strays into the world of psychics and clairvoyants, the realm of tarot cards and crystal balls, hungry for a whisper to set her off in the right direction. At a psychic fair in Windsor she sneaks into Alison's show.
 
Alison, beleaguered by spirits since early childhood, lives in a different kind of solitude. She can never escape the dead who speak to her, and the physical pain of their broken bodies—least of all the constant presence of Morris, her low-life spiritual guide. An expansive on stage—in both the physical and the charismatic sense—Alison feels a bond with Colette almost instantly, and invites her to become her personal assistant.
 
A dark, odd, unsettling, yet often amusing novel, Beyond Black follows the pair as they create a new life together, both women struggling to retain control in the face of the material and metaphysical pressures of the modern world. When they move to an industrial wasteland in the ravished English countryside and take in a vagrant who also hears voices (but of a different kind), Alison’s connections to the place beyond black converge with the scrutiny of her neighbors, threatening to uproot her life completely.
  
With her trademark wit and keen eye for humanity's eccentrics, Hilary Mantel brings us an irresistible account of the complications of lives at the edge of the spirit world—and beyond.

BOOK EXCERPTS

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Beyond Black
oneTravelling: the dank oily days after Christmas. The motorway, its wastes looping London: the margin's scrub grass flaring orange in the lights, and the leaves of the poisoned shrubs striped yellow-green like a cantaloupe melon. Four o'clock: light sinking over the orbital road. Teatime in Enfield, night falling on Potter's Bar. There are nights when you don't want to do it, but you have to do it anyway. Nights when you look down from the stage and see closed stupid faces. Messages from the dead arrive at random. You don't want them and you can't send them back. The dead won't
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REVIEWS

Praise for Beyond Black

"The strangest, creepiest, most sorrow-and-pity-inducing book I've read for a very long time . . . [and] a great ghost story. A chilling masterpiece."--Philip Pullman
 
"A terrible and swirling horror-comedy about a very fat medium on the perimeter of the M25, haunted by mean and nasty spirits, veering between damnation and the trivial."--A. S. Byatt
 
"Funny and harrowing. . . A great comic novel. Hilary Mantel's humor, like Flannery O'Connor's, is so far beyond black it becomes a kind of light."--The New York Times Book Review
 
"Beautifully written . . . Strange, funny, and affecting . . . Mantel is . . . the possessor of a peerless prose style."--John Banville
 
"Spooky, smart, and deep."--Claire Dederer, New York magazine
 
"[One of] my favourite [books] of the year . . . More people really need to get with the concept that Mantel is one of the best writers in England."--Zadie Smith
 
"Her finest [novel] . . . Mantel's writing is so exact and brilliant that, in itself, it seems an act of survival, even redemption."--The New Yorker
 
"Original and deeply dark . . . New and compelling . . . With Beyond Black [Mantel] shows us how fiction can lift us into the extraordinary."--The Washington Post Book World
 
"Grimly seductive [work from] a writer of dark extremities. [Mantel] performs as if from the depths of a well, her prolonged bleakness pierced by splinters of beauty and treacherous wit. . . . Imperceptibly, artfully, Mantel has elevated her material monsters into metaphysical monsters."--The Boston Globe
 
"Inventive, delightful, subversive [and] dead serious . . . Hilary Mantel has taken . . . those moments between sleep and waking, when we hardly know who we are, or why, and turned them into a novel that makes the unbelievable believable. . . . This is a book out of the unconscious, where the best novels come from."--Faye Weldon, The Guardian (U.K.)

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Hilary Mantel

  • Hilary Mantel is the bestselling author of many novels including Wolf Hall, which won the Man Booker Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction. Bring Up the Bodies, Book Two of the Thomas Cromwell Trilogy, was also awarded the Man Booker Prize and the Costa Book Award. She is also the author of A Change of Climate, A Place of Greater Safety, Eight Months on Ghazzah Street, An Experiment in Love, The Giant, O'Brien, Fludd, Beyond Black, Every Day Is Mother's Day, and Vacant Possession. She has also written a memoir, Giving Up the Ghost. Mantel was the winner of the Hawthornden Prize, and her reviews and essays have appeared in The New York Times, The New York Review of Books, and the London Review of Books. She lives in England with her husband.
  • Hilary Mantel John Haynes
    Hilary Mantel
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Available Formats and Book Details

Beyond Black

A Novel

Hilary Mantel

Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction - Nominee

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FROM THE PUBLISHER

Picador

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