The Fact of a Body with author Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich
Don't miss our event with Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich for her incredible book, The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir. It will without a doubt be one of the most talked about books this summer.
Stef says: "It is a must read. The blending of a shocking and heartbreaking true crime story with her own story and journey of forgiveness and healing was so powerful, so unusual and fresh. I was hooked from the first page and felt honored to be able to read her story. She's so brave, and this book is an absolute wonder."
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 the case. 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.
Praise for The Fact of a Body:
"This book is a marvel. With unflinching precision and immense compassion, Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich peels apart both a murder case and her own experience to reveal how we try to make sense of the past. 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 the New York Times bestselling Everything I Never Told You
"A fascinating hybrid of true crime and memoir, TheFact of a Body is intricately constructed, emotionally raw, and unflinching. Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich has written a gripping meditation on memory, justice, and the limits of empathy."
"The Fact of a Body is a remarkable act of witness, an anatomy of silence and the violence it abets, a book of both public and private accountings. Rejecting the false comfort of certainty, it confronts the inadequacy of all our tools for fathoming not just unforgivable crimes, but the baffling, human grace that can forgive them. This is a profound and riveting book."
-- Garth Greenwell, author of What Belongs to You
Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich is a 2014 National Endowment for the Arts fellow, an award given for her work on The Fact of a Body. She has received a Rona Jaffe Award and fellowships to the MacDowell Colony and Yaddo. Her essays appear in the New York Times, Oxford American, and the anthology Waveform: Twenty-first Century Essays by Women. She lives in Boston, where she teaches at Grub Street and in the graduate public policy program at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.