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The Beyond Hardcover – January 9, 2001

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Editorial Reviews Review

In Jeffrey Ford's World Fantasy Award-winning, New York Times Notable Book, The Physiognomy, the Physiognomist Cley destroys the Well-Built City and almost destroys the woman he loves. In the sequel, Memoranda, the ex-Physiognomist experiences one of the strangest adventures in all of fantasy fiction when he is forced to literally enter and explore the mad mind of his dying master, the murderous tyrant Drachton Below. Now Cley returns, along with Below's demon son, in The Beyond. The trilogy's concluding volume is slow to start and episodic, but also imaginative, unusual, and intelligent.

Cley wanders both literally and figuratively in the wilderness as he follows the woman he hideously harmed into the Beyond, a mysterious, bizarre, and frightening frontier between worlds. The demon Misrix uses the Physiognomist's powerful drug, sheer beauty, to watch his friend's journey, even as he pursues his own equally dangerous quest, the search for his humanity. --Cynthia Ward

From Publishers Weekly

Following The Physiognomy (1997), which won a World Fantasy Award, and Memoranda (1999), Ford completes the trilogy with a quest novel of fantastic adventure stronger on style than story. Cley, the erstwhile Physiognomist, First Class, who mentions his former profession only once, travels outside the Well-Built City with Wood, his dog, into the unknown seas and mountains of the Beyond, where they encounter many wonders: omnivorous trees, invisible monsters, a woman encased in ice, and a skeleton from which Cley removes a necklace, only to have her ghost demand it back. From the last Clay receives a seed, which, when buried, grows into a friendly humanoid vegetation creature. Demons, classically winged with horns and barbed tails, constantly threaten. With the aid of a sense-expanding drug, the demon Misrix, back in the ruins of the Well-Built City, sees and narrates the travels of Cley and Wood through the Beyond to death and transfiguration. Too often Misrix interrupts the story for unlikely sentimentality, until his final break ties him with Cley, whom he is ironically accused of having murdered. Ford's graphic imagination is as powerful as ever, but the quest itself is vague and undefined, while the story ultimately fails to grip. (Jan.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Eos (HarperCollins); 1st edition (January 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380978970
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380978977
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.7 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,859,308 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Richard R. Horton on May 30, 2002
Format: Paperback
I quite liked Jeffrey Ford's previous two novels in his "Physiognomist Cley" trilogy, _The Physiognomist_ and _Memoranda_. _The Beyond_ is the final novel in the trilogy. Although all three novels share the same main character, Cley, they are all quite different books. Cley is originally Physiognomist for the Well-Built City, and in the first book he helps overthrow that City, while in the second book he ventures into the brain of the former dictator of the City, searching for a cure to a disease which has ravaged the newly free residents of the new city Wenau.
In _The Beyond_, Cley has ventured into the eponymous wilderness of his strange world, in company with a tamed, intelligent, demon named Misrix. Cley is searching for the "true Wenau", and his lost victim/love Arla Beaton. The story is told on two tracks: in one, Misrix tells of his lonely life in the ruins of the Well-Built City, and the eventual discovery of him by the people of Wenau. In the other, Misrix narrates Cley's adventures in the Beyond, which he "remembers" by use of the drug Beauty.
In Misrix' tale, he befriends some of the residents of Wenau, but is feared and hated by others. Eventually he is accused of killing Cley, who has never returned from the Beyond. He yearns only to be treated as human, and only by submitting to justice and a trial can he maintain that status.
His tale of Cley's journey is very strange. After Misrix returns to the Well-Built City, fearing that the effects of the Beyond are making him forget his humanity, Cley continues on with his dog, Wood. He survives demon attacks, and a terrible winter, eventually discovering a cave and a mysterious dead person.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By David on January 12, 2004
Format: Paperback
The Beyond is the third book detailing the heartbreaking story of Cley, the former Physiognomist from the mythical and fantastic world of "The City". Please do not read this story without having read the previous two: The Physiognomy and Memoranda, if only for the fact that all three are wonderful stories, full of imagination and are unlike almost anything else you have ever read.
I can't tell you how much I enjoyed this book. Cley's adventures through the Beyond are nicely juxtaposed with the parallel story of the Demon Misryx as he struggles to find his humanity and end his loneliness. Ford has a fantastic imagination and a beautiful writing style which hooks the reader in from the beginning and just keeps dragging you along. The books are almost impossible to put down and you totally lose yourself in this fantastic world.
Unlike most series you read now, I was sorry to see it end. However, that is how it should be (are you listening, Mr. Jordan?). The book ends, leaves you wanting more, yet wholly satisfied with what you have read. Why this book has not achieved more praise is beyond me (if I may use that word). The Fantasy genre needs more authors like Ford and Mieville and fewer Jordans and Goodkinds. This is fantasy for the intelligent, imaginative reader looking for an original story without the neverending wait for a conclusion. Keep up the good work, Mr. Ford.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kat Hooper VINE VOICE on January 2, 2013
Format: Paperback
The Beyond is the last book in Jeffrey Ford’s WELL-BUILT CITY trilogy. This bizarre story began with The Physiognomy in which Cley, an arrogant and cruel physiognomist, is sent by the evil ruler Drachton Below on a mission to the mining town of Anamasobia. While there, Cley makes a bad decision which destroys the beautiful face of Arla, the woman he has fallen in love with. This humbles and devastates Cley (drastically changing his personality for the better) and leads to the destruction of Drachton Below’s Well-Built City.

In the second book, Memoranda, we find Cley in a new life — acting as herbalist and midwife in the village of Wenau. When Drachton Below, still living in the ruins of his Well-Built City, poisons the people of Wenau, Cley is the only person who can help, but he has to go into Below’s warped mind to find the antidote. He gets some help from Misrik, Below’s charming demon son.

In The Beyond, guilt-ridden Cley is compelled to seek forgiveness and redemption by searching for Arla, the woman whose face he ruined. To do this, he must traverse the mysterious Beyond, the huge cold wasteland that lies north of the Well-Built City. At first he sets out with Misrix and Wood, his old dog, but the northern wastes are teeming with demons and Misrix, a tame and well-educated demon, must turn back as he feels himself losing the civility and culture he’s learned. Cley and Wood go on without him while Misrix returns to the Well-Built City and uses a hallucinogen to watch their progress. Cley meets a few people and some strange creatures in the Beyond, learns that the Beyond is conscious and has plans for him, and then something weird and profound happens to Cley at the end.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Minsma on January 14, 2009
Format: Paperback
The final book in the Well-Built city trilogy is a stunningly imaginative feast of a quest novel. Cley journeys into The Beyond, the surrealistic no man's land where people tend to disappear without a trace. But Cley needs to find out what happened to Arla, a woman he wronged in the first novel, and to seek her forgiveness. Will Cley finally find the forgiveness he has so ardently sought through these books? Will he find his purpose and solve the mysteries of the Beyond? Will he survive?

There aren't any easy answers for him or the readers. I find it impossible to reduce this book to a few paragraphs, but I will say that it needs to be read as the final chapter of the other two books. I'm not sure it would work as a stand alone, but taken as the culmination of the trilogy, the ending packed an emotional wallop that had me thinking about it for days on end.
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