“I found this book so bizarre it irritated me. Admittedly it's fiction but it was so far-fetched with Morris and his other ghastly/ghostly spook causing havoc. The sppoks were SO nasty apart from one or two. I found it all rather distasteful and often disgusting. It was a poor plot unravelled very slowly and predictably. Few gently happy soothing parts. Mantell's writing is simple, menacing and precise. There were a few funny bits but not many.”MRS C WILSON wrote this review Friday, April 26, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Fascinating, disturbing, meandering. Unlike anything I've read before. Still processing!”Sonia G wrote this review Tuesday, November 6, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Brilliant book, a ghost story with a difference, told from the medium's point of view helped along by her sidekick Collette who has just gone through a divorce with a sometimes evil, sometimes hilarious cast of "ghosts" making Alison's life a nightmare.
Never read a ghost story like this, the medium is the main focus of the story and charts her life back to her terribly abusive childhood.
At times full of black humour, at others full of sadness as you can feel Alison's misery at her way of life.
Well worth reading. ”
“Not sure what I thought of this book overall - the characters are interesting, partly because they are not all that likeable. Alison is a medium who is tortured by the voices she can hear and lives in fear of her spirit guide Morris who is bringing back the horrors of her childhood. I'm not sure that I ever really understood the spirit world as described in this book and found it difficult to grasp how her childhood was affecting her current day - were those men ghosts during her childhood or were they real?”Sherri L wrote this review Monday, November 28, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Dark, brooding, funny, disturbing...this is a goodie, with the sort of strong research which makes it easy to become embedded in the location and time. It even has a scene featuring lady Di. I would suggest that readers be well-grounded before reading as this is another of Mantel's books that can play troubling little tricks on the mind.”Jane E wrote this review Thursday, June 2, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“This book was highly recommended to me by some colleagues. Yes, it is a good book and well written but it didn't really hit the spot for me. I am a sceptic when it comes to clairvoyance, crystal balls, palmistry etc, and maybe that is why the book didn't really grab me.
Alison has not had the best upbringing, raised by a terrible mother who had tried to get rid of her baby. This "gift" was obviously already in the family, but Alison's mother had another way of earning money. Therefore, it is not surprising that Alison is haunted by some terrible ghosts from the past that she must confront before she can rid herself of these demons.”
“Beautifully written and engaging. The only personal problem with the book is that I was slightly disappointed with the limits of the story. The first 100 pages were wonderful and I think talk about something that we are all fascinated about - how psychics work. For me, the relationship between Alison and Colette was not interesting enough - or I suppose the Colette character wasn't sufficiently interesting. She was clearly there to be a foil to the psychic world with her one-dimensional modern life but that wasn't good enough for someone as good as Ms Mantel. Still a great read, just didn't keep me as entranced all the way through while I didn't want Wolf Hall to end - not that it has if the sequel comes out soon...”Russell W wrote this review Wednesday, January 5, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“In Hilary Mantel's macabre and darkly entertaining spook story, the afterlife is no "Far Better Place". It's just like life, only the banality never ends, and the Dead are just as trivial, brutal, stupid and cruel as they were when they were alive. They wander the earth, carping about old grievances, a ghostly version of the Homeless, and Alison, Mantel's extremely sympathetic heroine, hasn't a moment's peace. For she happens to be an authentic psychic medium: kind-hearted, obese, scarred inside and out, eking out a living doing readings at psychic fairs, and (quite literally) haunted by personal demons. As we follow Alison’s nomadic life traveling from venue to seedy venue in the bleak wasteland of English suburbia, we gradually become aware that there is no real difference between life and the beyond – there is only Nowhere, and both the living and the dead inhabit it.
The spectral gang of criminal low-lifes who bedevil Alison day and night are so vividly drawn, so crackling with verbal energy, Cockney humor and malignant evil, that the Living pale in comparison, and they threaten to purloin the novel itself. Mantel’s weird mixture of the tedium of day-to-day existence with the goose-fleshy thrill of the uncanny is completely convincing, but risky: the novel feels a bit lacking in narrative drive, meandering into some extremely interesting places but with only the vaguest sense of direction. Still, the author is up to something wonderfully original, and as Alison finally struggles to free herself from the ghosts of her horrific childhood, Mantel cleverly manages to transform that cliché into a metaphor rich and strange. It’s creepy fun of an extremely dark variety.
“4.5 stars.”AvidReader wrote this review Tuesday, October 5, 2010. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“A superb, wry, engrossing novel that is beautifully researched about the world of mediums. Could've been written by Fay Weldon. Uniquely British. Mysterious, too. Loved the interplay between Alison and Colette. Great writing!”Baroness Monique wrote this review Tuesday, September 14, 2010. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No