The Fact Of A Body: A Murder And A Memoir by ALEXANDRIA MARZANO-LESNEVICHThe Fact Of A Body: A Murder And A Memoir by ALEXANDRIA MARZANO-LESNEVICH

The Fact Of A Body: A Murder And A Memoir


Paperback | May 16, 2017

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"Complex and challenging... push[es] the boundaries of writing about trauma." -The New York Times
"A True Crime Masterpiece" - Vogue
Entertainment Weekly "Must" List and Best Books of the Year So Far
Real Simple's Best New Books
Guardian Best Book of the Year
Lambda Literary Award Winner
Chautauqua Prize Winner

"The Fact of a Body is one of the best books I've read this year. It's just astounding."
- Paula Hawkins, author of Into the Water and The Girl on the Train

"This book is a marvel. The Fact of a Body is equal parts gripping and haunting and will leave you questioning whether any one story can hold the full truth." - Celeste Ng, author of the New York Times bestselling Everything I Never Told You and Little Fires Everywhere

Before Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich begins a summer job at a law firm in Louisiana, working to help defend men accused of murder, she thinks her position is clear. The child of two lawyers, she is staunchly anti-death penalty. But the moment convicted murderer Ricky Langley's face flashes on the screen as she reviews old tapes-the moment she hears him speak of his crimes -- she is overcome with the feeling of wanting him to die. Shocked by her reaction, she digs deeper and deeper into the case. Despite their vastly different circumstances, something in his story is unsettlingly, uncannily familiar.

Crime, even the darkest and most unsayable acts, can happen to any one of us. As Alexandria pores over the facts of the murder, she finds herself thrust into the complicated narrative of Ricky's childhood. And by examining the details of Ricky's case, she is forced to face her own story, to unearth long-buried family secrets, and reckon with a past that colors her view of Ricky's crime.

But another surprise awaits: She wasn't the only one who saw her life in Ricky's.

An intellectual and emotional thriller that is also a different kind of murder mystery, THE FACT OF A BODY is a book not only about how the story of one crime was constructed -- but about how we grapple with our own personal histories. Along the way it tackles questions about the nature of forgiveness, and if a single narrative can ever really contain something as definitive as the truth. This groundbreaking, heart-stopping work, ten years in the making, shows how the law is more personal than we would like to believe -- and the truth more complicated, and powerful, than we could ever imagine.

A 2014 National Endowment for the Arts fellow, she has received a Rona Jaffe Award and has twice been a fellow at both MacDowell and Yaddo. Her essays appear in the New York Times, Oxford American, and the anthologies TRUE CRIME and WAVEFORM: Twenty-first Century Essays by Women, as well as many other publications. She received her JD ...
Title:The Fact Of A Body: A Murder And A MemoirFormat:PaperbackProduct dimensions:336 pages, 9.31 × 6.19 × 0.9 inShipping dimensions:9.31 × 6.19 × 0.9 inPublished:May 16, 2017Publisher:Flatiron BooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1250154936

ISBN - 13:9781250154934


Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazingly Raw A very interesting read. I appreciate the human ecological perspective of trauma and shame. I would definitely recommend this to those who are interested in law and crime.
Date published: 2018-11-07
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Enjoyed it I really enjoyed both of the stories in this novel but I sort of felt like they were disjointed and had difficulty relating the two at some points
Date published: 2018-01-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing This story of a murder and a woman that becomes drawn to the case, is both disturbing and yet uplifting. It is mainly a story of trauma and overcoming, as best as one can, such terrifying ordeals. Read by the author, you can feel the emotion and the strength behind her words. Truly fascinating.
Date published: 2017-10-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from brilliant Powerful and emotionally raw, I have never read anything quite like this before. Pedophiles and the harm they cause, the lasting effects on their victims, whether in family or without, the subject makes this a difficult book to read. As a law student the author comes across a case involving the death of a six year old and the offender, at the time on death row, a young man named Ricky. Although she doesn't believe in the death penalty she is shocked to find how much she wants this man to die. It triggers memories of the abuse within her own family and she sets out to understand​, both Ricky's case and her own family and what lived within the confines of supposed love. This story is so personal, we feel as if we are travelling with her as she makes her discoveries, witness her pain and anguish, feel with her as she tries to understand. The secrets held in her own family, passed down through generations, and her attempt to understand what makes someone sexually prey on others. The subject matter maybe a trigger for some, it is quite vividly presented, often looked at through the eyes of the child she was, absolutely devastating and heartbreaking. I do believe stories like these need to be told, not just as a catharis for the teller but as a way to bring these things out in the open, start a dialogue so others are not afraid to speak. Narrative nonfiction, mixed with a memoir and even some fiction writing, but it is done skillfully and honestly.
Date published: 2017-09-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Brilliant read I loved this book. It's difficult to read in some parts, as it deals with some heavy material (sexual assault, child molestation, murder, eating disorders, depression), but it is done so in an amazing way and I really respect the author for providing us with such a well written, personal story.
Date published: 2017-06-01

Editorial Reviews

Audible's Best of the Year 2017Bustle's Best True Crime Books of 2017LitHub's Best Crime Books of 2017BookRiot's Best Books of 2017New England Book Award 2017 FinalistEntertainment Weekly "Must" List and Best Books of the Year So FarReal Simple's Best New Books Guardian Best Book of the YearLambda Literary Award Finalist "A memoir/true-crime hybrid that stands up to the best of either genre, and will linger in your mind long after the last page."-Entertainment Weekly "Marzano-Lesnevich, in her performance of hybridity - "A Murder and a Memoir" - is only doing what the best memoirists do: creating a book of fact and body,and speaking, in all their discord, as mother, father, and child."- LA Review of Books"This is a nonfiction book you could give up novels for. Intertwines a riveting true crime story with a brave memoir, reminding us that facing the truth is our only option."-Redbook"Utterly remarkable. It isn't just that the writing can be beautiful. it isn't just her coruscating honesty, it is that she understands how very partial the stories we tell ourselves are: the story of themselves that parents choose to tell their children as much as the stories that defence and prosecuting counsels create about events and people. Stories, she sees, are both essential and treacherous... Heroically accomplished."-The Times of London "There are echoes of In Cold Blood in this haunting story.A gothic mixture of memoir and true crime, The Fact of a Body is full of secrets that don't want to stay buried, that are forced to the surface despite all attempts to keep them submerged. Bold, disquieting. True crime that feels true."-The Sunday Times of London "Dream-stippled prose, at once sharp with beauty and lush with horror."-The Boston Globe "The superb writing and story-telling keep luring you back. Marzano-Lesnevich writes with a beautifully deft one-two-three punch of grace, power and raw emotion."-The Buffalo News "This book is a marvel. With unflinching precision and immense compassion, Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich peels apart both a murder case and her own experience to reveal how we try to make sense of the past. The Fact of a Body is equal parts gripping and haunting and will leave you questioning whether any one story can hold the full truth."-Celeste Ng, author of the New York Times bestselling Everything I Never Told You and Little Fires Everywhere"A fascinating hybrid of true crime and memoir, The Fact of a Body is intricately constructed, emotionally raw, and unflinching. Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich has written a gripping meditation on memory, justice, and the limits of empathy."-Tom Perrotta"The Fact of a Body is unlike any murder story I've ever read, a masterpiece of both reportage and memoir, a book that could only be written by an author with Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich's staggering gifts: a relentless reporter with a law degree from Harvard, a poet's understanding of the cadence of a line, and a novelist's gift for empathy. Walter Benjamin famously said that all great works of art either dissolve a genre or invent one. This book does both, and its greatness is undeniable."-Justin St. Germain, author of Son of a Gun"The Fact of a Body is remarkable act of witness, an anatomy of silence and the violence it abets, a book of both public and private accountings. Rejecting the false comfort of certainty, it confronts the inadequacy of all our tools for fathoming not just unforgivable crimes, but the baffling, human grace that can forgive them. This is a profound and riveting book." - Garth Greenwell, author of What Belongs to You"The balancing act here performed between autobiography and journalism, documentary and imagination, witnessing and reckoning, the tender and the terrible, is shrewd and graceful. In the hands of a lesser human or writer, it could have all fallen apart; instead, Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich has given us an exquisite and exquisitely difficult work of art that makes a fierce claim on our attention, conscience, and heart."- Maggie Nelson, author of the NBCC award-winning Argonauts"Haunting...impeccably researched...Her writing is remarkably evocative and taut with suspense, with a level of nuance that sets this effort apart from other true crime accounts."-Publishers Weekly, Starred Review"An accomplished literary absorbing narrative about secrets, pain, revenge, and, ultimately, the slippery notion of truth.A powerful evocation of the raw pain of emotional scars."-Kirkus"Compulsive, eloquent and profoundly troubling. One of those rare books which embrace the genuine complexity of life."- Mark Haddon, bestselling author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time"The writing is superb and gripping.a moving must-have."-Library Journal, starred review"Surprising, suspenseful, and moving.A book that defies both its genres, turning into something wholly different and memorable."-Booklist, starred review"Haunting. Marzano-Lesnevich digs into one case that begins to feel oddly familiar, and eventually is forced to confront her understanding of justice, forgiveness, and truth."-BuzzFeed"THE FACT OF A BODY is excellent. So gripping and fascinating."-Sophie Hannah, New York Times bestselling author of The Monogram Murders"Suspenseful and spellbinding."-BustleAudible Best Books of the Year (So Far)