Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Review: Beyond Black - Hilary Mantel

Confession, I've had a copy of Hilary Mantel's Booker winner, Wolf Hall lying around for ages, but this is the first book of hers I've read.

Beyond Black tells the story of Alison, medium and psychic. Making the rounds of psychic fairs and conventions with her various colleagues, Alison meets Colette, who decides to become Alison's manager, and make her peculiar talents go further. Alison is haunted by the ghosts of her past, the majority of whom are rather unpleasant and slowly her own forgotten past comes to affect her present.
I quite liked Alison, despite being a complete sceptic, and the brisk way she tried to deal with the dead who kept bothering her. Colette is brittle and not very nice, impossible to feel for, unlike Alison, who I felt quite sorry for when her childhood comes back to, well, haunt her.
It took a little while to get into the book, but once I was I whizzed along, to the conventions and shows, where the psychics gather to be quite rude about their punters after hours, the long car trips the two women take between venues, returning to their home, filled by evil ghosts and menacing nightmares.
This book is quite fun, and not too heavy going, with some quite comic bits. Well written and interesting. I recommend it.

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