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The Resource The body lies, by Jo Baker

The body lies, by Jo Baker

Label
The body lies
Title
The body lies
Statement of responsibility
by Jo Baker
Creator
Author
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
"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"--
Tone
Writing style
Review
  • /* Starred Review */ Baker's first novel since A Country Road, a Tree (2016) revolves around the terrifying experience of a professor caught up in a student's dangerous obsession. Three years after a harrowing assault in London leaves the unnamed narrator traumatized, she accepts a position teaching writing at a university deep in the English countryside. Her husband decides to keep his city job and commute to see her and their young son on weekends. At first, she's entranced with the small town, the large house she's renting, and her charming, welcoming colleagues. Her six graduate students appear to be talented and unique, but she can't help but be unsettled by the attention paid her by one of them, Nicholas, a seemingly deeply sensitive young man writing a novel about his dead girlfriend. When their relationship takes a dark turn after a party, the narrator finds herself caught up in a nightmare that threatens her sense of safety, her career, and even her life. With an unflinching eye, Baker deftly explores the pressure, judgment, and dangers women are subjected to on a daily basis simply because they are female. Her brilliant novel is a scathing indictment of the many ways society excoriates women while excusing violent men. A must read. -- Kristine Huntley (Reviewed 5/1/2019) (Booklist, vol 115, number 17, p63)
  • /* Starred Review */ Still traumatized three years after being assaulted during her pregnancy near her South London home, the unnamed novelist who narrates this lyrical suspense novel from Baker (Longbourn) leaps at the offer of a university lectureship in rural Lancashire, even though it means she and her toddler son will be separated from her husband, who can’t leave his teaching job in London. The move will indeed change everything—but hardly the way she hopes. For starters, their rose-covered rented house redefines remote. And then there are the unanticipated challenges presented by her creative writing students—in particular, the most talented but also most troubling one, Nicholas Palmer, whose seemingly autobiographical work in progress centers on a young woman who dies under mysterious circumstances. Though Nicholas starts pushing for an inappropriate personal relationship with the narrator, his writing skill makes her loathe to establish firm boundaries—a decision that backfires catastrophically after a Christmas party. Soon she’s fighting to save her job, her marriage, and even her life. All too plausible, Baker’s powerful tale is at times heart-rending to read—and impossible to put down. Agent: Clare Alexander, Aitken Alexander Assoc. (June)
			 --Staff (Reviewed 04/01/2019) (Publishers Weekly, vol 266, issue 13, p)
  • A pregnant young woman falls victim to a quick and brutal assault in London, which eventually leads her to take a job in a more rural area. Her husband stays in the city while she and their three-year-old son move to the countryside, where she teaches creative writing. She is apprehensive and uncertain, as she has had only one book published and feels unqualified and underprepared for the job. Her students are a close-knit group that take to their new instructor, including her in party invites and asking about her son. However, a few of them turn in dark, violent chapters that go beyond fiction and into reality—particularly her reality. VERDICT Longbourn author Baker's foray into suspense contains some beautifully written passages, but it is mostly told from the perspective of the protagonist, and at times it's hard to grasp the young woman's motivations or emotions. Regardless, this book is recommended for readers who enjoy psychological thrillers that focus on women protagonists such as Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl, or Paula Hawkins's Girl on the Train. [See Prepub Alert, 12/6/18.] --Jennifer Funk (Reviewed 05/01/2019) (Library Journal, vol 144, issue 4, p67)
  • Psychologically as well as physically bruised by a random attack on a city street, a young woman moves to the country with her child only to find that she has not put as much distance between herself and danger as she thought. Haunted by repetitive images of a dying girl in a wood, Baker's (A Country Road, a Tree, 2016, etc.) new novel is a story of female response to male threat, boosted by questions of literary expression. The unnamed heroine, author of a successful first novel and living in London with her teacher husband, is assaulted by a stranger as the story opens. Later, partially healed, she moves north with her 3-year-old son to a university town to take up a lectureship in creative writing. The move is stressful in multiple ways, as the woman juggles domestic responsibilities, struggles to keep her marriage together, and tries, as a novice teacher, to handle her students. The students' written work peppers the tale, notably chapters by Nicholas Palmer, a gifted but complicated young man from a wealthy local family, whose autobiographical fiction includes references to the tragic death of a young girl. The woman begins to sense warning signals yet doesn't take the necessary steps, a factor common to thrillers but also part of Baker's commentary on the difficulties for women of dealing with encroaching peril. Nevertheless, this conventional setup is at odds with Baker's previous, often outstanding body of work, which is marked by more original portraits of women's lives and stances. Here, for all the central character's identifiable dilemmas and the interesting perspective of the "other" literary voices, the story devolves into single-strand plot stereotype, with a psychopath battering down the door and a terrorized woman fleeing for her safety. Baker's fans will enjoy the crisp descriptive writing and insightful nuances but might find this a limited, relatively predictable showcase for her abilities. (Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 2019)
Assigning source
Provided by publisher
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
10781431
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Baker, Jo
Dewey number
823/.92
Index
no index present
LC call number
PR6102.A57
LC item number
B63 2019
Literary form
fiction
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Authors
  • College students
  • England
  • FICTION / Suspense
  • FICTION / Literary
Target audience
adult
Label
The body lies, by Jo Baker
Instantiates
Publication
Copyright
Note
"This is a Borzoi book."
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
22 cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
273 pages
Isbn
9780525656111
Lccn
2018050099
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
(OCoLC)1054834657
Label
The body lies, by Jo Baker
Publication
Copyright
Note
"This is a Borzoi book."
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
22 cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
273 pages
Isbn
9780525656111
Lccn
2018050099
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
(OCoLC)1054834657

Library Locations

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