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Beyond black
Hilary Mantel
Adult Fiction MANTEL

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Instead of celebrating the mystical side of "sensitives," the people who travel England's contemporary psychic "fayre" circuit, Mantel (A Change of Climate, etc.) concentrates on the potential banality of spiritualism in her latest novel, a no-nonsense exploration of the world of public and private clairvoyance. Colette is a down-on-her-luck event planner fresh from a divorce when she attends a two-day Psychic Extravaganza, her "introduction to the metaphorical side of life." There, Alison, a true clairvoyant, "reads" Colette, sees her need for a new life-as well as her potential-and hires her as a Girl Friday. As Colette's responsibilities grow, and the line between the professional and the personal blurs, Colette takes over Alison's marketing, builds her Web site, plans for a book and buys a house with her. Colette also serves as a sort of buffer between Alison and the multitude of spirits who beleaguer her. (Alison's spirit guide, Morris, "a little bouncing circus clown," proves especially troublesome.) Mantel's portraits of the two leading characters as well as those of the supporting cast-both on and off this mortal coil-are sharply drawn. This witty, matter-of-fact look at the psychic milieu reveals a supernatural world that can be as mundane as the world of carpet salesmen and shopkeepers. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

The 1997 death of Princess Diana and the 9/11 attacks form the backdrop of this unusual tale by Mantel (Giving Up the Ghost). Alison, a medium, tours her native England, rousing the departed and conveying their messages to audiences in search of spiritual solace. Meanwhile, the author tackles child abuse, female friendship, racial dynamics, eating disorders, environmental destruction, and sexuality, reminding readers that even those close to the spirit world have to contend with contemporary social issues. While readers unschooled in the wiles of psychic phenomenon will likely find parts of this novel tedious, Alison and her intrepid business partner, Colette, are so interestingly quirky that even when the novel veers into New Age babble it retains some appeal. Spirit guides mingle with shysters, and Tarot card readers intersect with crystal gazers, as Alison and Colette deftly navigate the British suburbs. Recommended for all libraries with occult and spirituality collections.-Eleanor J. Bader, Brooklyn, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Alison Hart
Sunny-tempered; nickname is Al; had an evil childhood; has a repulsive spirit guide named Morris; helps lower middle class people talk to the other side; her business manager helps her to attain a house adnd Morris finally gives her a period of peace.

On the run from a loveless marriage; helps Al get her finances straightened out; they buy a house together.

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