"This book is a marvel. 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
Before Alex Marzano-Lesnevich begins a summer job at a law firm in Louisiana, working to help defend men accused of murder, they think their position is clear. The child of two lawyers, Alex is staunchly anti-death penalty. But the moment convicted murderer Ricky Langley’s face flashes on the screen as Alex reviews old tapes—the moment they hear him speak of his crimes—they are overcome with the feeling of wanting him to die. Shocked by their reaction, Alex digs deeper and deeper into the case. Despite their vastly different circumstances, something in Langley's story is unsettlingly, uncannily familiar.
Crime, even the darkest and most unsayable acts, can happen to any one of us. As Alex pores over the facts of the murder, they find themself thrust into the complicated narrative of Ricky’s childhood. And by examining the details of Ricky’s case, Alex is forced to face their own story, to unearth long-buried family secrets, and reckon with a past that colors their view of Ricky's crime.
But another surprise awaits: Alex wasn’t the only one who saw their life in Ricky’s.
An intellectual and emotional thriller that is also a different kind of murder mystery, THE FACT OF A BODY is an audiobook 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.
This program is read by the author.
A 2014 National Endowment for the Arts fellow, Alex Marzano-Lesnevich has received a Rona Jaffe Award and has twice been a fellow at both MacDowell and Yaddo. Their essays appear in the New York Times, Oxford American, and the anthologies TRUE CRIME and WAVEFORM: Twenty-first Century Essays by Women, as well as many other publications. They received their JD from Harvard, their MFA at Emerson College, and their BA from Columbia University. They now live in Boston, where they teach at Grub Street and in the graduate public policy program at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.