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The Body in Question: A Novel Kindle Edition
From the author of Heroic Measures (“Smart and funny and completely surprising . . . I loved every page” —Ann Patchett), Act of God (“A feat of literary magic”—Booklist) and, with Amy Hempel, The Hand That Feeds You (“An unnerving, elegant page-turner” —Vanity Fair), a spare, masterful novel.
The place: central Florida. The situation: a sensational murder trial, set in a courthouse more Soviet than Le Corbusier; a rich, white teenage girl—a twin—on trial for murdering her toddler brother.
Two of the jurors: Hannah, a married fifty-two-year-old former Rolling Stone and Interview Magazine photographer of rock stars and socialites (she began to photograph animals when she realized she saw people “as a species”), and Graham, a forty-one-year-old anatomy professor. Both are sequestered (she, juror C-2; he, F-17) along with the other jurors at the Econo Lodge off I-75. As the shocking and numbing details of the crime are revealed during a string of days and courtroom hours, and the nights play out in a series of court-financed meals at Outback Steak House (the state isn’t paying for their drinks) and Red Lobster, Hannah and Graham fall into a furtive affair, keeping their oath as jurors never to discuss the trial. During deliberations the lovers learn that they are on opposing sides of the case. Suddenly they look at one another through an altogether different lens, as things become more complicated . . .
After the verdict, Hannah returns home to her much older husband, but the case ignites once again and Hannah’s “one last dalliance before she is too old” takes on profoundly personal and moral consequences as The Body in Question moves to its affecting, powerful, and surprising conclusion.
“A fantastic rendering of female desire . . . Few writers can tackle the bedroom—or female libido . . . but Ciment is a master: in exquisitely spare prose, she nails it.” —Penelope Green, The New York Times
“[The] deft orchestration of absurdity and existential dread distinguishes Ciment's style. That's why the situation of Ciment's latest novel, The Body in Question, is so perfectly suited to her powers as a novelist . . . incisive . . . a profound story about mortality and the mysteries of human behavior . . . smart and disturbing.” —Maureen Corrigan, NPR
“Engaging, empathetic . . . This honest, mature look at life and love adds to a growing body of evidence leading to a decisive verdict: Ciment is an author well worth reading.” —Kirkus (starred review)
“Stark and absorbing . . . scathingly funny . . . a smart, compact, refreshingly unsentimental exploration of the persistence of desire amid the fact of death.”
—Sam Sacks, The Wall Street Journal
“Excellent . . . short and brisk, propelled by the suspense of multiple questions . . . deft and gripping.”
—Curtis Sittenfeld, The New York Times
About the Author
- ASIN : B07HDSQ3L2
- Publisher : Vintage (June 11, 2019)
- Publication date : June 11, 2019
- Language : English
- File size : 3385 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 194 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #310,954 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from the United States
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Illicit sex shifts power balance in the jury room and post-trial relationships. Rules of evidence and over-heated media stoke backlash against the jurors. And, just in case we've missed any beach read bases, there's a life partner with a terminal disease in a state with no death dignity law.
The tone is as musty and dark as an interstate motel room. There is appropriately no joy because nothing is going to end well here. And that's authentic.
Well, this book is.
Low-level but intense suspense, an impossible-to-guess plot with both our main characters and the framing law trial as well.
Ending is unexpectedly logical and reveals much about the characters' roles we may not have gleaned before.
This is not an airport thriller, please don't expect a Michael Connelly story. "The Body" is about real people and what they do, not some crazy race to do this and that before the villain gets more villainous.
In fact, as in life, there is no real villain here, just people doing their best with sometimes unintended results.
Climet has jury selection pitifully wrong. Jury selection in a high-profile murder trial takes a very long time-- sometimes days. It starts in groups of 30 or more for general questions- unless there is individual voir dire. Climet also has sequestration all wrong. Taking locks off the doors? Are you kidding me? Not letting jurors talk to one another alone? Please. She has jurors wearing flip flops and a court reporter chewing gum. No judge in my state would allow either, and no court reporter would ever chew gum. No judge would embarrass a juror who fell asleep- or kick a juror off a trial for dozing on one bad day- especially with only one alternate- who doesn't know he's an alternate until the end.
A simple Google search would have revealed that jury instructions have been approved by the Florida Supreme Court and are "standard." In a murder case they are extensive and detailed, and the instructions are sent back with the jury. Her portrayal of the jury instructions (one inaccurate paragraph) is disgusting.
It's a shame that some people will read this book and think the system is a joke. The jurors hardly take their job seriously, and C-2 is petty to say the least.
This book is an insult to anyone who has spent time on a jury or working in the judicial system. Next time, get in your car and go watch a trial.