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, a vicious debate about violence against women inflames the tensions and mounting rivalries in her creative-writing class. 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.
About the Author
Jo Baker was born in Lancashire and educated at Oxford University and Queen’s University Belfast. She is the author of the bestselling novel Longbourn, as well as A Country Road, A Tree; The Undertow; The Telling; The Mermaid’s Child; and Offcomer. She lives in Lancaster, England.
“Jo Baker’s The Body Lies is gripping and strange in the best possible way: the perfect marriage of risky literary fiction and full-on thriller.” —Maria Semple, author of Where’d You Go, Bernadette
“With high-stakes storytelling and riveting suspense, this story goes beyond just a simple mystery as it addresses some of our own major societal problems.”—Today
“A must read . . . 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.” —Kristine Huntley, Booklist (starred)
“Beautiful words wrapped around brutal truths—The Body Lies is a novel for now . . . It’s an outstanding story.” —Clare Mackintosh, author of I Let You Go
“An ingenious and electrifying setup that explores the boundary between fact and fiction . . . a gripping psychological thriller that combines fiendish mind games and riveting drama with a timely examination of male entitlement and female struggle . . . beguiling us, transporting us and terrifying us for good measure.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Baker’s heroine is one of the most believable I’ve seen on the page in a long time . . . nuanced, non-linear, lifelike. The truthfulness of this creation carries us as long as the story shifts gear from literary fiction to thriller . . . Baker manipulates these gears masterfully, and the final chapters deliver the heart-in-mouth genre denouement we’ve been waiting for.”—The Times Literary Supplement
“All too plausible, Baker’s powerful tale is at times heart-rending to read—and impossible to put down.” —Publishers Weekly (starred)
“Baker boldly and refreshingly insists on changing the narrative surrounding sexual assault. The Body Lies isn’t another story of a silent, naked, dead girl. … Indeed, this novel is the story of a survivor, not a victim.”—BookPage
“I read The Body Lies in one sitting. As a thriller, it grips and shocks; as a portrayal of the way women move through the world, and the way men see them, it has never been more timely. Absolutely stunning.” —Erin Kelly, author of He Said/She Said
“The Body Lies is a train of brilliantly realized scenes that can speed the reader along, but it is better to stop now and then to ponder the issues raised by this thought-provoking book. Not a conventional ‘summer read’ perhaps, but a rewarding one.”—The Washington Times
“Heart-pounding . . . The Body Lies takes the familiar tale of a student-teacher relationship to the extreme. An academic psychological thriller . . . [a] breathless account”—Suspense Magazine
“There’s something cleverer going on in The Body Lies; its clout is in the sexual politics behind its deft contrast between the fictional depiction of violence against women and the stark, isolating reality.”—Siobhan Murphy, The Times (UK)
“This is an exceptionally well-written psychological thriller.”—The Mail on Sunday (UK)
“The Body Lies sets itself large challenges . . . combining the satire of the campus novel with the high drama of the thriller. Baker is a writer who can make it all work. Beyond the dubious fun of the chase, the pleasure of reading this novel is seeing writerly ambition fulfilled.”—The Guardian (UK)