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The Body Lies

de Jo Baker

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaMencions
16814124,327 (3.77)28
"A dark, thrilling new novel from the best-selling author of Longbourn: a work of riveting psychological suspense that grapples with how to live as a woman in the world--or in the pages of a book--when the stakes are dangerously high. When a young writer accepts a job at a university in the remote English countryside, it's meant to be a fresh start, away from the bustle of London and the scene of a violent assault she is desperate to forget. But despite the distractions of her new life and the demands of single motherhood, her nerves continue to jangle. To make matters worse, during class a vicious debate about violence against women inflames the tensions and mounting rivalries in her creative writing group. When a troubled student starts turning in chapters that blur the lines between fiction and reality, the professor recognizes herself as the main character in his book--and he has written her a horrific fate. Will she be able to stop life imitating art before it's too late? At once a breathless cat-and-mouse game and a layered interrogation of the fetishization of the female body, The Body Lies gives us an essential story for our time that will have you checking the locks on your doors"--… (més)
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» Mira també 28 mencions

Es mostren 1-5 de 13 (següent | mostra-les totes)
A women takes a job away from her husband to help support them and her son. She is in a new job where she has no previous experience. But because she had a book that was published she is teaching others about how to write a book. Because of something that happened in her past she is cautious but still seams to make the wrong decisions. Then something transpires with one of her students. ( I don't want to give anything away). And you learn more about the student and her neighbors which fills in the story.

Reading this book was kind of like someone telling you about a time in there life within a period of about 3 years. The main character was like able, although sometimes I questioned her judgement. And It was a good story to read. I did like it, but it was not a book I would go on and on about. I gave this book 3 stars. ( )
  kmjessica | Apr 26, 2020 |
this is going to haunt me for a long time.

---

This review can also be found on my blog.

I was first drawn to The Body Lies after reading Rachel’s incredible review of it. I’m glad to have gotten her perspective, because I can see how going into this expecting a thriller would be disappointing. This is not a fast-paced crime novel; this is a quietly terrifying piece of literary fiction. Baker presents an examination of trauma as well as the objectification of women’s bodies that I will not be forgetting anytime soon.

The atmosphere is key here. An undercurrent of tension runs throughout this novel. As a reader I nearly always was on the edge of my seat waiting for things to go south even though, strictly speaking, not much was happening. Baker is masterful at making you truly feel the main character’s anxieties without even telling you what they are. I was incredulous at how certain events impacted me; events that objectively I wouldn’t have felt anything for become absolutely heart-wrenching when placed into context.

This is in part a tongue-in-cheek commentary about how women’s bodies are typically used in thrillers. Baker turns these tropes on their head, criticizing them while also demonstrating how to utilize them effectively. The setting really works here: a creative writing class allows us to see examples firsthand in an organic manner. The excerpts of her students’ writing don’t feel forced, and they add a great deal to the story.

What I found most impactful in this book was its portrayal (and analysis) of trauma. At the outset of the book, the narrator is attacked by a man on the street. The ways this impacts her life are both large and small, and I felt Baker did an incredible job of demonstrating that. Additionally, it quickly becomes clear that those outside a traumatic incident are not necessarily able to understand, or even notice, these impacts. My heart ached reading this; I felt like Baker was able to reach deep down inside me.

I honestly cannot recommend this book highly enough. As I said before, it will do you no good to go into this expecting a true thriller with a twisty plot. But if you’re looking for something dark and quiet that explores the way we treat women, you’re in for quite the treat. I’m certain I’ll be coming back to this again and recommending it left and right. Already my favorite book of the year (although I’ll revisit this in December), The Body Lies is honestly a masterpiece.

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  samesfoley | Apr 24, 2020 |
This was just the book I had been seeking at this time. From its opening, when a young woman is sexually assaulted by a stranger on the street, it has a subtle but growing sense of menace and dread. That one event starts a chain in which the woman, now a mother of a toddler, leaves London and moves to a small English town to teach a masters course in creative writing. Her husband stays behind to keep his job. The separation strains her marriage, of course, and one of her students, a well-off full-of-himself brooding type who only writes "the truth," has taken an unhealthy interest in her.

I very much empathized with this narrator (I don't think we get her name). A lot of women could relate to her experiences, I think. In the end, she insists on being the author and protagonist of her own story. Her refusal to conform to men's expectations of how she should behave as a supporting player in their stories has a lot of negative consequences for her, but in the end, she succeeds--in a very believable way, I think. I thought [The Body Lies] was compulsively readable, tautly written, and not only a compelling commentary on how men see women, but also a cutting critique of MFA programs and academia in general. ( )
  sturlington | Oct 15, 2019 |
I really liked this literary thriller about a young mother who is a professor of creative writing. She becomes entangled with her students, leading her into personal danger. I thought there were things that Baker could have chosen to do differently that would have made the book a little more believable and a bit more suspenseful, but I was happy to go along for the ride. ( )
  japaul22 | Aug 27, 2019 |
I’ve been sitting here wondering what to say about Jo Baker’s The Body Lies. On the one hand, I adored the writing. She starts out each section with these pieces that are almost poetic in nature, no matter how brutal the scene they are describing. They are so beautiful in their descriptiveness and imagery. I found myself looking forward to each chapter break because I knew it would mean another one of those pieces. On the other hand, the story held no interest for me. Sure, I felt for the heroine and her struggles to be a single mother in a new environment with a new job. I don’t necessarily approve of the way she became so involved in her students’ lives, which is what directly leads to all the drama and suspense later in the story. I can recognize her growth as she learns to say no to an overbearing boss, but her initial inability to do so bothered me a lot. It never seemed to fit with her personality and what we know about her. So, there was a lot about the story that irked me and not a lot that made a positive impression. This reaction bothers me most of all because I like Jo Baker’s novels and wanted to like this one. Unfortunately, when the final reaction upon reading the last sentence is one of relief that the book is over, saying you like the novel is not an option, and that is where The Body Lies leaves me.
  jmchshannon | Aug 10, 2019 |
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"A dark, thrilling new novel from the best-selling author of Longbourn: a work of riveting psychological suspense that grapples with how to live as a woman in the world--or in the pages of a book--when the stakes are dangerously high. When a young writer accepts a job at a university in the remote English countryside, it's meant to be a fresh start, away from the bustle of London and the scene of a violent assault she is desperate to forget. But despite the distractions of her new life and the demands of single motherhood, her nerves continue to jangle. To make matters worse, during class a vicious debate about violence against women inflames the tensions and mounting rivalries in her creative writing group. When a troubled student starts turning in chapters that blur the lines between fiction and reality, the professor recognizes herself as the main character in his book--and he has written her a horrific fate. Will she be able to stop life imitating art before it's too late? At once a breathless cat-and-mouse game and a layered interrogation of the fetishization of the female body, The Body Lies gives us an essential story for our time that will have you checking the locks on your doors"--

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