My best friend gave me Beyond Black as a Christmas present ages ago. It was because of the Nottinghamshire/Derbyshire connection (Hilary Mantel is from Glossop in Derbyshire and we’re from Nottinghamshire). I spent a lot of time reading Beyond Black with my mouth open in shock and kept putting it down only to take it up again minutes later. It was as if I were reading about a relative – one who the family didn’t often see and generally talked about more with their eyes than with their words. The spirit world was accepted in our family but not encouraged, for the very reasons that are contained in Hilary Mantell’s Beyond Black.
Hilary Mantell has a playful voice that is full of knowledge and reflection. Her fearless imagination weighs up the odds facing those between life and death. She is able to inhabit the minds of those now dead, with compassion. Looking forward to hearing her Reith Lecture: The Day is for Living – art can bring the dead back to life. Radio 4 Tuesday 13th June at 9.00 am.