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Maps of Our Spectacular Bodies

By: Maddie Mortimer
Narrated by: Lydia Wilson,Tamsin Greig
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Summary

Longlisted for the Booker Prize 2022
Winner of the Desmond Elliott Prize 2022


Something gleeful and malevolent is moving in Lia’s body, learning her life from the inside out. A shape-shifter. A disaster tourist. It’s travelling down the banks of her canals. It’s spreading.

When a sudden diagnosis upends Lia’s world, the boundaries between her past and her present begin to collapse. Deeply buried secrets stir awake. As the voice prowling in Lia takes hold of her story, and the landscape around becomes indistinguishable from the one within, Lia and her family are faced with some of the hardest questions of all: how can we move on from the events that have shaped us, when our bodies harbour everything? And what does it mean to die with grace, when you’re simply not ready to let go?

Maps of Our Spectacular Bodies is a story of coming-of-age at the end of a life. Utterly heart-breaking yet darkly funny, Maddie Mortimer’s astonishing debut is a symphonic journey through one woman’s body: a wild and lyrical celebration of desire, forgiveness, and the darkness within us all.

©2022 Macmillan Publishers International Limited (P)2022 Macmillan Publishers International Limited

Critic reviews

"Original, memorable, shimmering." (Sarah Moss)

"Extraordinary, kaleidoscopic." (Daisy Johnson)

"Restlessly inventive...delicate and persuasive." (The Guardian)

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Dual narration works well

As a printed book, this title makes liberal use of typographical features to generate meanings in addition to what the words themselves say: text is shaped into pictures (e.g. a dove), undulates along the page, is given unusual spacing, put into different fonts and font sizes, and generally exploited as another semantic resource. Audio can't do that, obviously, so the recording here opts to have two (both fantastic) actors, who voice the bold-face type (Greig) and the rest (Wilson). Occasionally Grieg paces her delivery to reflect odd layout, but most of the typographical differentiations found in the visual/physical book are lost.

Those wanting to listen without a hard copy should, however, feel confident in doing so. Virtually nothing missing from the audio here makes the book incomprehensible. The dual voices in fact render some of the parts where internal and external speakers dialogue much more readily and immediately understandable. If I were being unkind, I might argue that the qualities of the audio here point to the lack of necessity, perhaps even redundancy, in the strange visual features of the book, which I would imagine some readers might find rather off-putting. They perhaps unnecessarily over-complicate a visual reading experience in a way that the audio reading cuts right through.

2 people found this helpful

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LOVED THIS BOOK

I thought this audible book was absolutely mesmerising. Can’t recommend highly enough. Superb writing and the performance of the two readers was as I say mesmerising.

2 people found this helpful

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Engaging and reflective

Stunning audio book. I think it deserves a second listen or read the physical copy of the book because it is so thought provoking. The narration was perfect. Definitely one my favourite audiobooks so far.

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brillliant listen

absolutely loved this book, moving, gripping, a really special book and great narrators too