S.A.'s Reviews > Beyond Black

Beyond Black by Hilary Mantel
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May 17, 2011

it was ok
Read from May 17 to 19, 2011

Beyond Black is an uneven book that doesn't seem to know what it wants to be when it grows up. The main character, a genuine psychic named Alison, is a character you develop great sympathy for during the story. The storyline following how she unravels the questions about her tormented childhood is creepy and fascinating. She seeks to discover why dead people haunt her, especially a gang of wretched characters she calls "fiends" who act determined to make her life miserable.

The main problem the story offers is the secondary character, a humorless, cruel, angry woman named Collette who becomes Alison's manager/tax adviser/promoter. Collette is so miserable and one dimensional in her meanness you begin to hope Alison grabs a frying pan and whacks Collette in the head. Amusingly at one point Alison has similar thoughts but she keeps Collette around for seven years; Alison even has a house built for them to live in. Cue the lesbian jokes which are unnecessary and cheap. You sense Alison is so desperately lonely she'll endure Collette's insults and verbal abuse.

The book's other flaw is the writing style. Perhaps I am a simple dope who doesn't understand literary conceits, but when tense changes in the middle of the paragraph, or suddenly the dialog is written as COLLETTE: What do you mean? ALISON: Nothing, this reader thinks "Gee, I am reading a book, not enjoying a story."

Only my desire to discover Alison's secrets pushed me to finish the book.
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04/15/2016 marked as: read

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