Currently unavailable.
We don't know when or if this item will be back in stock.
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more

Beyond Black

3.3 out of 5 stars 156 customer reviews

See all formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Currently unavailable. We don't know when or if this item will be back in stock.
Customers also viewed these available items
click to open popover

Special Offers and Product Promotions

Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.




Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: ISIS Audio Books (1 Jun. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0753125609
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753125601
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (156 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,194,351 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

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

‘It's a brilliant, extraordinary novel, and I found Alison an intensely moving creation. She inhabits a universe of cruelty, absurdity, terror and black comedy. She survives only through her own wit and her struggle towards the light.

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

Praise for Giving Up the Ghost:

'Like Lorna Sage's BAD BLOOD, GIVING UP THE GHOST is a story of childhood that is also a piece of history. Hilary Mantel's self-portrait is a masterpiece of wit, but it conjures up a time and a place and an epoch of female experience with razor-edged sobriety. That past, so thoroughly vanished, is made to live again here – disclosed, cannily and heartbreakingly, as once it too yielded up its author's mind.' Rachel Cusk

‘What a remarkable writer she is. She is piercingly, even laceratingly observant, and every remembered detail has the sharpness of a good photograph. And yet for all its brilliance of detail and its black comedy the memoir is heavy with atmophere. It's a very startling and daring memoir; the more I read it the more unsettling it becomes.’ Helen Dunmore

‘I was riveted. It’s raw, it’s distressing and it’s full of piercing insights into a first-rate novelist’s mind.’ Margaret Forster

A stunning evocation of an ill-fitting childhood and a womanhood blighted by medical ineptitude. Hilary Mantel’s frank and beautiful memoir is impossible to put down and impossible to forget.
Clare Boylan

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From the Back Cover

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.

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

See all Product Description

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I bought this book after much deliberation - All the papers loved it - but most of the reviews I read on this site were less than favourable. I decided to make my own mind up.

The plot of this book concerns Alison, a gifted but troubled psychic, with a horrific past - touring lacklustre psychic fairs on the ring road around London, offering comfort to the bereaved, passing on messages from the departed - All the while, coming to terms with her squalid, abusive upbringing and dreadful treatment at the hands of her prostitute mother and the squaddies and lowlifes who populated her early life and still torment her after their passing. Morris, her seedy spirit guide, is her departed link to the past she would rather forget.

Colette, her thorny assistant - plays a major part, sceptical and indifferent to her spectral tormentors - she grounds Alison firmly in reality with diets, timetables and a complete lack of sympathy. A host of sardonically characterised mediums and mystics give some comic relief and balance the intense horror of her childhood.

The key to this book is that it's not a thriller or a ghost story - its a beautifully written tale of facing up to your demons - alive or dead, Mantel writes with confidence and her prose is, at times, breathtaking. Her characters are well observed and she breathes life into the dead - Morris and his cronies are believable - horrible small time crooks, with nothing to talk about but the old days and why they can't get a good savaloy anymore. You also realise that the world that Alison inhabits is as dead as the one she can tap into.

My only criticism is a slightly slow 3rd quarter - that being said, once you read the last page, you will miss Alison - you might even miss Morris.
Comment 184 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
I really enjoyed this book as, unlike so many these days, it had depth and something to sink my teeth into. The reviews here are disappointing and I wanted to give another view. There were points during this book that were laugh out loud funny, as well as very, very sad. Alison is a wonderful character who struggles with what life has thrown at her. She is seeking to remember her past traumas and come to terms with her reality. Colette has hidden depths, but cannot find the heart to find out what they are. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a well-written and well-planned novel, not just to those who have a vested interest in the 'mystical.' Heart-warming and touching. I was truly sorry to leave Alison behind
Comment 68 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
Reading the other reviews, I can understand why some people are disappointed in this book - the cover implies it is a ghost story and if that's why they bought it, then it won't satisfy them. There are ghosts in the book, lots of them, but it's not their ghostiness that is drawn out, but the dreariness of spending eternity wandering in limbo with a crowd of other mardy spirits. The main character spends her life circling London's insalubrious dormitory towns, night after night spent in Travelodge-type hotels with only her abrasive assistant and revolting spirit guide for company. And she knows that there's nothing to look forward to after death either. It's very funny, but in a way that makes you shiver slightly too and really hope Mantel is wrong!

It's not about ghosts, it's about living people and how we get on, or not, in the world.
Comment 12 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
By Wynne Kelly TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 16 Sept. 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Alison is a medium who earns her living by taking part in psychic fairs along with a sundry group of other practitioners. She is overweight and outwardly confident but she is soon revealed to be surrounded by spirits of men from her childhood. These all seem to be malevolent and a sad, abusive and neglected childhood is gradually revealed. She is joined by Colette, a rational and controlling woman, and a love-hate relationship ensues.

The writing is terrific. Alison's past is shocking and the book is very dark in parts, contrasting sharply with the humour which is frequently "laugh out loud" funny. Even though the subject matter is not one that I would usually care for I found I was swept along by the narrative and in particular by the relationship between the two women and the other psychics.

It is creepy and inventive but not sure if I actually enjoyed it!
Comment 43 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
The story revolves around the strained relationship between two women. Alison, a warm, empathetic lady who makes a living from talking to the dead, and Colette who is her hard-headed assistant. Both characters are so well-drawn that they're likable and sympathetic despite all their obvious flaws.
This is a strange book. A mixture of satire, ghost-story, horror and comedy. The reason it works is that the two central characters are so real and compelling.
One of the great things about this novel is the way that Hilary Mantel treats the world of the medium. She gets a lot of comedy from it, but she never dismisses it entirely. Alison is part entertainer, part therapist and part artist. The art of mediumship it seems is very close to the art of the novelist. It involves imagination and empathy. But Alisons experience of the otherworld is more unsettling that she lets on to her clients and slowly her frightening "spirit-guide" and his friends close in on her until she is forced to confront certain secrets from her past.
This is the first Hilary Mantel that I've read, but after reading it, I've just ordered her entire back catalogue.
What I love the best is her descriptive writing. She describes a modern England that is dark and sinister and flat and stale, but because the writing is so beautiful she gives it a kind of glamour.
1 Comment 35 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews


Look for similar items by category


Feedback