by Hilary Mantel
Hilary Mantel’s comic novel, about a medium living in London’s outer suburbs near the M25. In an article in the New Yorker that ranges widely over her writing, critic and author Daniel Mendelsohn said Beyond Black was possibly her “masterpiece.”
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“There’s a long sequence, which sustains the rest of the novel, with an obsession with newbuild houses and all the accoutrements of newbuild developments. I doubt there has ever been such a great depiction of the Postmodern newbuild houses in Britain or of post-80s neighbourhood housing in all of fiction. This unparalleled brilliance in describing something so seemingly banal makes this book a comic masterpiece, although it’s very dark novel as well. Dark and very, very funny. Mantel delightfully skewers the house-buying industry, the process of buying a house off-plan, the small rooms, the endless debates about whether tiny rooms could be knocked together.” Read more...
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John Grindrod, Architects & Architectural Historian
“In what may be Mantel’s masterpiece, “Beyond Black” (2005), a creamily luscious prose stands in disconcerting contrast to the bizarrenesses and horrors it narrates. Its protagonist is Alison, a morbidly obese medium who has to contend with some very real spirits, in particular a band of thugs led by a ghoul called Morris, who likes to lounge around her room playing with his fly.”