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The body in question

by Ciment, Jill, 1953-

Format: Print Book 2019
Availability: Available at 9 Libraries 9 of 16 copies
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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.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "It's a Florida murder case ready-made for social-media frenzy: teenage twin sisters, adopted Romanian orphans, are suspected in the fiery death of their mother's miracle baby, 18-month-old Caleb. It's both a sensational and subtle puzzle, and the sequestered jurors need to pay close attention. C-2, a prominent photographer, shouldn't serve. Her much older husband, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, is unwell and shouldn't be left alone. But C-2 is flirting with F-17, a younger, clever anatomy professor, and enters the dreary Econo-Lodge in an erotic fugue state. They fail to conceal their affair, and ultimately it becomes public knowledge as outrage over the verdict surges. Ciment (Act of God, 2015), a virtuoso of the situational novel, has created a hypnotizing, forked tale of trust and guilt, masks and doubling, lies and desire, life and death. As she stealthily readjusts the depth of field and provokes the reader into questioning testimony personal and judicial in this intricately unsettling tale of morality and longing, Ciment dramatizes the anguish of betrayal, age, and illness and the many forms that acts of love can take.--Donna Seaman Copyright 2019 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Ciement's intriguing, swift-moving novel (after Act of God) is set in the midst of a sensational murder trial--a teenage twin is on trial for murdering her toddler brother, as two jurors engage in a love affair. Moving from jury selection to sequestering, the two jurors spend their days listening to grisly details of the crime, and their nights in furtive lovemaking. Juror Hannah, 52, the protagonist, struggles with her marriage to an 86-year-old. As she continues her torrid affair with Graham, a 42-year-old professor, they vow not to discuss the case. However, when the jury reaches deliberations, Hannah and Graham quickly realize they are on opposing sides, and to make matters worse, fellow jurors are aware of their dalliance. Once the verdict is read, Hannah returns to life with her husband, riddled with guilt over her indiscretion. Unbeknownst to Hannah, things are about to get worse. The case is soon in the headlines again as new information comes to light suggesting the jury convicted the wrong twin. Worse, the judge has received an anonymous note reporting that "two of my fellow jurors had sexual contact," and suddenly, not only does Hannah face the destruction of her marriage, but public, moral outrage over her fling. Ciment expertly toggles between the thrilling twists and turns of the courtroom to the private and personal struggles of marriage and aging. This novel will hook readers with its powerful, magnetic narrative. (June)"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Trials (Murder) -- Fiction.
Jurors -- Fiction.
Florida -- Fiction.
Thrillers (Fiction)
Publisher New York :2019
Edition First edition.
Language English
Description 173 pages ; 22 cm
ISBN 9781524747985
Other Classic View