Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
Beyond Black

Beyond Black

A Novel

Hilary Mantel

Henry Holt and Co.

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Hailed as a "writer of subtlety and depth," Hilary Mantel turns her dark genius on the world of psychics in this smart, unsettling novel (Joyce Carol Oates)

A paragon of efficiency, Colette took the next natural step after finishing secretarial school by marrying a man who would do just fine. After a sobering, do-it-yourself divorce, Colette is at a loss for what to do next. Convinced that she is due an out-of-hand, life-affirming revelation, she strays into the realm of psychics and clairvoyants, hungry for a whisper to set her off in the right direction. At a psychic fair in Windsor she meets the charismatic Alison.

Alison, the daughter of a prostitute, beleaguered during her childhood by the pressures of her connection to the spiritual world, lives in a different kind of solitude. She cannot escape the dead who speak to her, least of all the constant presence of Morris, her low-life spiritual guide. An expansive presence onstage, Alison at once feels her bond with Colette, inviting her 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 and take up with a spirit guide and his drowned therapist. It is not long before Alison's connection to 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.

Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction - Nominee

EXCERPT

Beyond Black

one
Travelling: 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...

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

About the author

Hilary Mantel

Among Hilary Mantel's major novels are A Change of Climate, A Place of Greater Safety, and Eight Months on Ghazzah Street. She has also written a memoir, Giving Up the Ghost. Winner of the Hawthornden Prize, she reviews for The New York Times and The New York Review of Books, and lives in England.

Hilary Mantel

John Haynes

Read a New York Times interview