When a young writer accepts a job at a university in the remote countryside, it’s meant to be a fresh start, away from the big city and the scene of a violent assault she’s desperate to forget. But when one of her students starts sending in chapters from his novel that blur the lines between fiction and reality, the professor recognises 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 battle-of-wits and a disarming exploration of sexual politics, The Body Lies is an essential book for our times.
“It was on the busy, dirty Annerley Road in south London that the man hit me”
The Body Lies starts with the assault of the pregnant, unnamed main character (MC), for the next 3 years, she is constantly anxious about the Blue Anorak Man….always on alert and feeling a little on edge. She applies for, and gets a job at a university a few hours from London, teaching Creative Writing.
Husband, Mark decides is not the time for him to move as it’s in the middle of the school year and he can’t (or won’t) leave his pupils, so they decide to live apart temporarily, with visits at weekends and term time….to spend time with young son, Sammy.
Our MC starts the course, meeting her pupils and we read a few chapters of their own writing, Nicholas’ is particularly dark……all true he says…he becomes a little creepy, and his writing seems to be about a dead girl…..who was she?
Then after a party, he rapes our MC and then disappears, she doesn’t report it as she didn’t fight back and just gave up rather than be hit again….”giving up is not consent”…….
but her troubles begin in earnest…her husband leaves her for someone else, a student makes a complaint about her behaviour, she is suspended from her job, a budding romance ends abruptly and someone is watching her…will this end in violence? Will Nicholas be found?
Little Sammy is a happy darling of a boy that brings brightness to this tense tale, while this may not be a typical psychological thriller, it has an insidious tension that will resonate with many women….that constant wariness when being out alone, even being overburdened at work as we don’t want to say no, rather than being deemed ‘difficult’…..of a friendly smile being seen as something more…..everyday occurrences for many.
It’s not a light read due to the subject matter at times and I wonder if a man would read this the same way…..I found this to be a very powerful and thought provoking read and it’s going to keep popping into my thoughts for a long time.
Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.
You can buy a copy here (click on the image)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
JO BAKER is the author of the acclaimed and bestselling LONGBOURN and A COUNTRY ROAD, A TREE.
Her new novel, THE BODY LIES, is a thrilling contemporary novel that explores violence against women in fiction but is also a disarming story of sexual politics.
Jo Baker lives with her family in Lancashire.
Hardcover: 288 pages
- Publisher: Doubleday (13 Jun. 2019)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 085752643X
- ISBN-13: 978-0857526434