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The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir by…
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The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir (edition 2018)

by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich (Author)

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4593936,090 (3.89)60
"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 ofInto the WaterandThe 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 theNew York Times bestsellingEverything I Never Told YouandLittle 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 thecase. 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.… (more)
Member:RebaRelishesReading
Title:The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir
Authors:Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich (Author)
Info:Flatiron Books (2018), Edition: Reprint, 336 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:CLSC

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The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich

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Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)
I was quite disappointed with this book. The two stories were both interesting, if disturbing. But it just rambled on and on, more like a combination of her therapist's notes and her diary than an actual book. And despite the publicity for the book, the so-called 'link' between the author's story and the crime was tenuous at best. ( )
  tiasreads | Dec 11, 2019 |
Digital audiobook read by the author.

From the book jacket: Before Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich begins a summer internship in Louisiana, working to help defend men accused of murder, she thinks her position is clear. The child of two lawyers, Alexandria is staunchly anti-death penalty. But the moment convicted murderer Ricky Langley’s face flashes on the screen as she reviews an old tape – the moment she hears him speak of his crimes – she is overcome with the feeling of wanting him to die. Shocked by her reaction, after she graduates from law school she begins digging deeper into the case. Despite their vastly different circumstances, something in his story is unsettlingly, uncannily familiar.

My reactions:
Wow. I was completely mesmerized by this memoir / true crime work. Marzano-Lesnevich puts me right into the narrative and I feel invested in both her story and that of convicted murderer, and pedophile, Ricky Langley. I totally understand her compulsion to research Langley’s case, and marvel at the strength of character shown by the author and by Langley. Yes, by Langley.

Here is a man who knew he had a problem and begged – repeatedly – for help. And here is evidence that was overlooked or flatly ignored. Questions that remained unanswered. And a jury’s decision that was perplexing. And here is an author who faced her own history, peeled back the layers of secrecy and denial to confront her own past.

Marzano-Lesnevich narrated the audiobook herself. I cannot imagine anyone else doing a better job. ( )
1 vote BookConcierge | Oct 31, 2019 |
“As such, this is a book about what happened, yes, but it is also about what we do with what happened. It is about a murder, it is about my family, it is about other families whose lives were touched by the murder. But more than that, much more than that, it is about how we understand our lives, the past, and each other. To do this, we all make stories.”

The Fact of a Body is the unusual combination of a memoir, an unrelated true crime tale, and creative fiction.

Where the line is drawn between the three is sometimes blurry as the author attempts to understand her experience of sexual abuse as a child, the life of a child molester and murderer, and the death of an innocent young boy.

The concept of truth, within the framework of memory and law, is explored in a thoughtful manner. What is clear is that the truth is never as simple, nor as fixed as we wish it to be.

Complex, poetic, challenging, and haunting, I found The Fact of a Body compelling reading. ( )
  shelleyraec | Sep 6, 2019 |
This book was very difficult to get through. Very disturbing passages and many trigger warnings. It was also hard for me to follow at times with the constant switching between the case we are following and the authors own story. ( )
  preetibee | Aug 31, 2019 |
So absolutely devastating and compelling. A mix of true crime and memoir that shouldn't work, but does incredibly effectively. Couldn't put it down, yet it haunts. ( )
  Oregonpoet | Jul 12, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)
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[I]t is always possible that the solution to one mystery will solve another.
—TRUMAN CAPOTE,
IN COLD BLOOD
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for my parents
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Prologue: There is a principle in the law called proximate cause, taught to first-year law students through the case Palsgraf v. Long Island Railroad Co.
Chapter One: The boy wears sweatpants the color of a Louisiana lake.
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