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The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir

de Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich

MembrosResenhasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
6304928,030 (3.86)68
"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.… (mais)
  1. 00
    The Red Parts: Autobiography of a Trial de Maggie Nelson (schmootc)
    schmootc: This book is a melding of true crime and memoir that is very readable. The catalyst is a crime, but how the author is affected by the crime/reacts to it is where the focus lies.
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Mostrando 1-5 de 49 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
I was looking through the books available at my local library (well, the digital version of my local library) and passed right by the audio version of this one. Until I saw the cover for the ebook and something made me stop and go back. I don't even remember what the cover image was. I went back a page in the listings and borrowed the audio book. (Note to authors: covers are important even if it's a digital edition.)

As I got started listening yesterday afternoon, I was much more excited about learning about the case the author had researched than anything having to do with her as a person. That changed somewhere along the way. I can't even tell you exactly when, but I became more involved in her story than in Ricky's. Not that the case and families involved weren't interesting. They were and my heart went out to many of the people involved. But it was Marzano-Lesnevich's life - and the sorts of events we had in common - that ended up hitting me in the gut.

The author slowly and carefully unravels her own past expertly. I didn't even realize what was happening until I became irritated by moving from her story back to the case. I caught myself a few times wondering when the switch happened and I could never figure it out. She completely exposes herself to the reader and I couldn't look away. This has been one of those reading experiences where I feel like I've made a friend of sorts with a character except this character is a real human, not a fictional one. I can't remember the last time I had a burning desire to reach out to an author to let them know just how touched I was by reading, or in this case listening to, their words.

I'm pretty sure I won't actually contact the author so I'll say here, thank you. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself and your family. ( )
  amcheri | May 25, 2021 |
Wow, what incredible story telling.

The Fact of a Body is two stories threaded by common themes. The first Ricky Langley and the murder of Jeremy. The second is the authors personal story. ( )
  booksforbrunch | May 5, 2021 |
Author Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich has a harrowing, difficult story to tell -- the story of her childhood experiences. The crime that was committed against her and her experiences attempting to come to terms with its affect on her family is compellingly written and sympathetic. Unfortunately, instead of just telling her story she has chosen to yoke it to a completely unrelated child murder case. Most if not all of what she writes about this case is just speculation based on the publicly available information. She had only a brief conversation with the murderer, from which she provides almost no information, and she never spoke to others intimately involved in the case such as the victim's family. This made me very uncomfortable with a lot of the book, as the author is attributing actions and statements to these people that she has merely assumed or made up, which seemed to me to cheapen their experiences and take away their own voices. I wish the author had stuck to recounting the events of her own childhood instead. ( )
  sophroniaborgia | Dec 11, 2020 |
I liked the way this book is written, slipping back and forth between memoir and true crime, but it's also really dark. I think it might have been an easier read if I hadn't listened to the audio. A good fit for fans of [b: My Friend Dahmer|12959045|My Friend Dahmer|Derf Backderf|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1325285515s/12959045.jpg|18116420]. ( )
  bookbrig | Aug 5, 2020 |
In The Fact of a Body, Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich recounts the story of the death of six-year-old Jeremy Guillory at the hands of a paedophile in the early 1990s, while also exploring the sexual abuse inflicted on her by her own grandfather. Marzano-Lesnevich discovered the Guillory case while working as an intern at a Louisiana law firm that defends death row inmates, and found herself obsessed with the killer and his psychology, trying to find in it something that explains her own childhood experiences.

I'm deeply conflicted by this book, and have wavered for ages over what rating to give it. On the one hand, this is a beautifully written and unflinching engagement with a harrowing and nauseating topic. Marzano-Lesnevich's grapplings with issues of what some might call cause and effect, others destiny, are often thought-provoking. But on the other, well...

Marzano-Lesnevich's decision to fictionalise swathes of what happened during the murder of Jeremy Guillory and its aftermath—to layer her own imaginings of dress and dialogue and demeanour and "must have felts" over court transcripts and newspaper articles—is a deeply uncomfortable for me. Yes, writing true crime demands some degree of imaginative recovery, if only to connect one piece of evidence with another, and reading in the genre pretty much always involves some degree of voyeurism: here you are, gazing at someone else's horror.

But Marzano-Lesnevich chooses to foreground another family's suffering—to conjure up vivid images which may or may not be actually true, but which linger in the mind because, well, that's how the human brain works—while comparatively holding back on her own. Yes, she documents very precisely what her grandfather did to her, but gives her siblings pseudonyms and gives us little sense of how their relationships have been shaped by a knowledge of what went on during their childhood. There's no such restraint with the Guillorys or with the murderer's family. Marzano-Lesnevich spoke with none of them directly. (Right at the end of the book she tells us she spoke with the murderer once, but then discloses nothing of their conversation.)

I was left therefore with the very hinky feeling that here was an Ivy League-educated individual from a middle-class family in New Jersey using two poor families with far less social capital as abstract paper dolls through which she could process her own feelings. Here is someone's private therapy session in print form. For all that Marzano-Lesnevich spends a long time ruminating on the line between truth and fiction, many passages of The Fact of a Body are overwritten, the author straining for connections and profundity that aren't there—just horror, and pain, and, yes, the fact of a child's body. ( )
  siriaeve | Jul 27, 2020 |
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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 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.

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