Thursday, 12 July 2007


AUTHOR: Hilary Mantel


DATE READ: July 2007

NOTES: 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, who becomes her business manager following her unsuccessful marriage to Gavin. Alison and Colette develop a love-hate relationship and after seven years Colette leaves and returns once more to Gavin (who has not had any luck in his life since she left).

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!

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