Hilary Mantel’s Beyond Black resonates. The ‘fiends’ who plague the central character Alison are made dust by her determination. She still has access to ‘spirit’ without their foul-mouthed presence. They made me think of the ‘demons’ we say we fight with, who crop up when we start something – who we think are inevitable, part of us – ‘our’ demons.

Like Alison, writers like Hilary need to source the universal, not the ‘dearly departed’ but the unborn, the characters.

As I go back inside the story now, I have a sense of re-entering a world. A world where things aren’t inevitable but dependent on characters’ choices. I have to listen.

Spent a lot of last week trying to re-form; reform? my life. Trying to organise steady income as well as a different way of being. This in order, not only to support my writing but, to allow other possibilities to grow.  I seem to be changing.


About Carol McGuigan

writer, performer, wonderer As a writer I am represented by Euan Thorneycroft at A.M. Heath http://www.amheath.com/pages/authors/view.asp?id=406 As a performer by Janet Plater http://www.janetplatermanagement.co.uk/ there's also a brief but currently out of date biog about my writing on the Literature North East site http://www.literaturenortheast.co.uk/writers/Carol_McGuigan_A-Z
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2 Responses to potentiality

  1. Stephen says:

    I’m glad you appreciate the book. A number of people I know absolutely hate it. Its darkness and subtlety are rare things in fiction. Hope the changes are going to work out. I’m going through a similar process

  2. Carol McGuigan says:

    Yeah I liked it even though it was long. The relationship between Colette and Alison made me laugh. I think Hilary Mantel is great at character. I didn’t find it as dark as I expected – dark for me is nihilsim and she isn’t nihilistic, just not afraid to look at degradation and I suppose that’s disturbing for people, but she doesn’t keep you or leave you there. I love the way she portrays contemporary Britain and I liked the way she obliquely alluded to writer’s consciousness through Alison’s ‘sensitivity’.

    Change – yes. I feel like I’m in an airport – I could still leave and go back to the known but I want the change even though it means leaving certain ways of being behind.

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