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The Fact of a Body Audiobook

The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir

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Publisher's Summary

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 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, 10 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.

©2017 Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich (P)2017 Macmillan Audio

What the Critics Say

"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 best-selling Everything I Never Told You)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (80 )
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4.2 (74 )
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  •  
    Jakk 05-20-17
    Jakk 05-20-17 Member Since 2017

    Jakk

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    "Tremendous "

    In the hands of a less skilled writer, this memoir/true crime story could have been a confusing mess. But Ms. Marzano-Lesnevich is marvelous. She takes you through the truly horrendous details of a decades old child murder and manages to infuse the telling with suspense, though the outcomes of multiple trials in the case were well publicised. She also makes a curious but compelling personal connection between dark events in her own family's past to those of the murderer's and the victim's families. All is woven together via the author's history as a lawyer, and her understanding and explanation of several points of law are quite helpful and delivered quite deftly, and not ponderously. I also commend Ms. Marzano-Lesnevich on her narration. She does a fine job for a non professional, and I normally do not like author narrations. It's a great listen that kept my interest from start to finish.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Margaret San Francisco, CA USA 05-22-17
    Margaret San Francisco, CA USA 05-22-17 Member Since 2008
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    "Memoir of Molestation"

    Let me start by saying that the writing style of the author was so deliberately erudite and MFA-ish that it distracted me from the stories she had to tell. There was never a tree, but always a steady oak against the yellow palette of the autumn sky. Not a filing cabinet, a white metal filing cabinet with each dent lovingly deliniated. Exhausting to listen to after a while.

    Further, the reader is treated to a specific example of each feeling--a buzzing in my head, pressure in my chest, my limbs tingled--to such an extent--seemed like almost every page--that I started to get fed up and long for a simple declarative, "I felt," but it was not to be. I think people who like Elizabeth Gilbert's writing will find this memoir right in the sweet spot, but I found it hard to decide how I felt with all the overly descriptive, wordy explanations of the author's feelings. It read to me that authenticity was substituted for the display of a very expensive education (name drop: Harvard).

    There's another rule that someone should add to MFA curriculums that would have helped me greatly with this one: leave room for the reader.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    DrJane New Orleans, LA United States 05-20-17
    DrJane New Orleans, LA United States 05-20-17 Member Since 2009
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    "Ambitious, Moving"

    Not a happy story, but exceptionally executed. Much to ponder during and after listening to this book. The author's narrative is of the highest quality, too.

    The juxtaposition of true crime and personal history genres is brilliant. I mirror the author's hunger to examine facts and the value of ethics. She is a very talented storyteller, but if you like action /intrigue without so much dogged pursduit of truth, skip this one. My take home from this book is that "truth" is often unattainable. and least likely to be neatly packaged in court.

    I deeply enjoyed the intellectual ride and the engrossing story full of nuance, beauty, and sensory input. I am changed by it.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gillian Austin, TX, United States 05-18-17
    Gillian Austin, TX, United States 05-18-17 Member Since 2017

    SciFi/Fantasy and Classics to History, Adventure and Memoirs to Social Commentary—I love and listen to it all!

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    "A Bit Haunting; A Bit Exasperating"

    "The Fact of a Body" is really gripping listening, for a while. And then you realize it's mostly about Marzano-Lesnevich's search to come to grips with childhood molestation and all that such a horror entails. Indeed, you come away from the book feeling that it's far more horrific to have lived through such a thing than to be brutally strangled, garroted with a wire, had a sock stuffed down your throat, and then had your nostrils pinched until you're dead.
    She constantly holds up her molestation to little Jeremy's murder as though they're of equal weight. I get it, really I do. What happened to her leaves scars, literally, figuratively, most definitely spiritually. But the book is mostly about how she is coming to terms with being in her body, less about the true horror of the crime Ricky committed.
    If you're ready to look at a pedophile most sympathetically, this book is for you. It's the most humane treatment of a criminal I've listened to in, well, I've never seen pedophiles addressed as anything but the most heinous of villains.
    If you want to know what childhood molestation does to a psyche, what it does to a life, this book is definitely for you.
    If you want to see what the differences are, the likenesses between the two? Well, that's where it falters a bit. It leans heavily on the personal, with Jeremy as barely more than a footnote to her pain.
    Then too, when we come to the source notes at the very end, we find that, while much of it, the book, was based on recorded sources, much more of it, the engaging part, was based on the author's imagination.
    Make of it what you will. Haunting, but really. Her therapist needs to work more intensively with her as this is what it is: A venting of rage, a song of sorrow. For herself, not Jeremy.

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lynne 05-19-17
    Lynne 05-19-17 Member Since 2015
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    "Thought provoking"

    The author is a masterful story teller and wordsmith. She has delved deeply into the often hidden truths of child abuse and its consequences.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paula VALENCIA, CA, US 05-25-17
    Paula VALENCIA, CA, US 05-25-17 Member Since 2013
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    "Authors shouldn't narrate"

    Wonderful story and a really unique spin on a true crime review. I really loved the way she intertwined it with her own life. It forces the reader to understand we all see things, glorious and evil, through our personal lens that is formed from our own story. That viewpoint makes this book one of a kind.

    As I've said in many reviews, it is my opinion that authors who aren't trained in public narration should not narrate their books. This is a great example.

    The I understand her wanting to "tell" her own story, she did that by writing the book. It was distracting how her voice would trail off at the end of sentences, sometimes she would go way too fast and, throughout the whole thing, she had way too much saliva at the back of her throat! I am easily peeved by narration and, while this wasn't god awful, it certainly wasn't great.

    In the end, the story was worth the lackluster narration.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    C. Telfair Shepherdstown, WV, United States 05-25-17
    C. Telfair Shepherdstown, WV, United States 05-25-17

    Audible has changed my life! Dry , itchy eyes were destroying one of my greatest pleasures - reading. Now I am experiencing books again!

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    "On 'Creative NonFiction'"

    This is a very powerful book. Interspersing the story of a child molester and killer with that of the author's early abuse delivers something of a double whammy. Should an offender's background and rearing be taken into account? Can a family function with a molester at its core? How do silence and avoidance of the issue add up to enabling?

    This is nonfiction in the same way many movies nowadays are described as "based on a true story". The listener can assume that the author's own story did happen as described, but the drama of the child killing and killer is not as straight-forward. Obviously, Ms Marzano-Lesnevich cannot know what the accused and his family thought and felt - how their minds worked and what their emotional reactions were. Any such crime undeniably has immense consequences for all those involved, be they the victim's or the perpetrator's families and friends. But, despite the obvious research into Ricky's side of the story, we cannot know for certain that the author's descriptions are strictly "true".

    The writer of "Creative Nonfiction" takes all these things into account in presenting a coherent dramatic story. In this case, she uses the story of the child-killing in a way that complements her own experience of hidden abuse and cover-up. She writes feelingly and eloquently but neither in the direct style of a journalist or with the freedom of a novelist.

    Both stories are very affecting, but the details and motives of one side are less "fact" than the other. This sort of "nonfiction" is firmly established as a genre now, but it still brings up questions of just what we're looking at here. The author's descriptions of her childhood suffering and the equal pain of the betrayal of her parents in covering up the actions and the consequences are sufficient, in my mind, to justify a book. Her treatment of the other side of the story, for me, is muddied with confusion.

    I think, in this case, that it was no advantage to have the author narrating. Her delivery doesn't really add any emotional impact, and her diction and pacing are not those of a good professional.

    Mixed feelings on this one!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    joy nielson 05-25-17
    joy nielson 05-25-17 Member Since 2016
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    "Could barely read 2 chapters- bORING"

    I want my money back from Audible. Terrible and boring book. No flow and not interesting

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    night owl 05-25-17
    night owl 05-25-17 Member Since 2015
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    "Not for me"

    I confess I only read first half of this book. Skipped forward to see if it would grab my interest toward the end,but it didn't. First of all I don't get what the case has to do with the authors childhood abuse. She should have written a separate book about that abuse. I think the story of Jeremy and Ricky is an interesting one but don't care for
    how it's handled. Secondly these authors do a real disservice to their work my narrating themselves. I'm sure a lot of people will like this work,just not me

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kindle Customer 05-25-17 Member Since 2014

    Resides in Elkton, M.D. (but my heart belongs in Upstate, N.Y.)

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "WAIT A MINUTE, WHAT'S THIS SUPPOSED TO BE ABOUT?"
    What disappointed you about The Fact of a Body?

    Everything! I don't and never had a problem with jumping back and forth (flashbacks,) however, come on, This was ridiculous! I didn't know if I was coming or going with this book. I can honestly say this is the worst book I have read this year, and I don't think I have ever said that!!!


    What was most disappointing about Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich’s story?

    Everything was so scrambled, nothing was clear about the story!


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich?

    She was okay....


    What character would you cut from The Fact of a Body?

    I WOULD CUT THE WHOLE BOOK!!!


    Any additional comments?

    I'm sure there will be a lot of people who disagree with me, but I was so disappointed in this book.....

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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