An Unremarkable Body – Incredibly Moving Fiction by Elisa Lodato
Every now and again a book comes along which kicks you right in the feels. An Unremarkable Body is one of those books.
A big book about a small life.
Katharine is found dead at the foot of the stairs by her 30-year-old daughter Laura. The medical examiner’s report, in which precious parts of her mother’s body are weighed and categorized, motivates Laura to write her own version of events. To bear witness to the unbearable blank space between each itemized entry.
What emerges are a series of stories in which Laura attempts to discover how and why her mother died, as well as make sense of her own grief, by piecing her mother’s body back together. In doing so, she is forced to confront a woman silenced by her own mother and wronged by her husband. A woman who felt shackled by motherhood and unable to love freely.
An Unremarkable Body follows Laura, who is in the throes of grief and utter loneliness as she comes to terms with the fact that not only has her mother died but that she discovered her body. The story arc is plays out through her mother’s post-mortem report; the eyes, the heart, the spine. Elisa Lodato writes with such careful attention to detail that you feel uncomfortable at times, like a voyeur eavesdropping on a private moment of grief for Laura and her childhood memories. These memories and recollections mean nothing at first, yet take on an entirely different interpretation as her mother’s story is slowly revealed.
The bond between mother and daughter is unyielding which at times is seen to freeze other family members out; the dichotomy is that although there is such a strong bond between mother and daughter, Laura never really knew her mother at all. There is a touch of melancholy and an invisible barrier around the family which is delicately laced throughout the book and pulled me in with a hope for happiness for them all.
Duffy’s Thoughts On An Unremarkable Body
This book has become quite a special one to me; there were times the storyline reflected my own memories of past relationships and childhood which poked at my heart with icy cold, bony fingers. This made the book personal and also quite challenging to get through at times. Although the storyline is a unique one, Lodato writes such detailed, nuanced memories and social interactions that almost all readers will resonate with it at some point within the pages.
An Unremarkable Body is a haunting, moving piece of fiction which gave me one hell of a book hangover. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a book to get truly lost in. Just be prepared for your own past and childhood memories to come to the surface.
5 stars – Couldnt fault it. An unremarkable body does not mean an unremarkable life.
Thank you Hachette for the chance to review An Unremarkable Body. Out on December 12th. Pre-Order now from Booktopia (hit any banner ad on my blog) and get a 17% discount.