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In the Body of the World: A Memoir of Cancer and Connection Paperback – 4 Feb 2014

5.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 221 pages
  • Publisher: Picador USA; Reprint edition (4 Feb. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1250043972
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250043979
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 1.6 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 641,294 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

Advance Praise for "In the Body of the World"

"Astonishing"
--Mary Oliver

"A masterpiece. Ensler has accomplished the impossible: weaving together huge, bold, world-changing ideas with beautiful writing, amazing metaphors, and original structure. Truly one of the most courageous and original works of our time."
--Naomi Klein

"This book is a ride, a river ride through rapids and depths and shallows, dried-up eddies, whirlpools and torrents, crystal-clear pools and the vast ocean at the end. What a thrill and what a spear through the heart. I am astounded by the honesty and clarity of each word."
--Elizabeth Lesser

"Ensler has written a profound and vulnerable book, full of tenderness and strength. I was amazed by the clarity of her vision and the power of her message about the body and self. This book isn't meant only for patients; it is meant for anyone whose life has intersected with illness--in short, for all of us."
--Siddhartha Mukherjee

"I dare anyone to read "In the Body of the World" without crying, without crying out, without getting up and rising to this beautiful broken world with awe and gratitude. There is no pity here, only the raw force of courage in the face of fear and violence, and the healing grace of honesty."
--Terry Tempest Williams

"Eve Ensler incarnates the pain of the women in the Congo, victims of rape and torture; and of the Earth, victim of so much desecration. Her heart and body are broken, her anger is like fire, and the passion of her writing rattles your soul. This is true literature and true activism."
--Isabel Allende

"Eve Ensler's memoir is not only wild and raw and incredibly important, it's also that rarest of achievements--a compulsively readable, stunningly rendered work of art that delivers hope and truth, challenge and solace, sometimes simultaneously."
--Alexandra Fuller""

"Astonishing"
--Mary Oliver

"A masterpiece. Ensler has accomplished the impossible: weaving together huge, bold, world-changing ideas with beautiful writing, amazing metaphors, and original structure. Truly one of the most courageous and original works of our time."
--Naomi Klein

"This book is a ride, a river ride through rapids and depths and shallows, dried-up eddies, whirlpools and torrents, crystal-clear pools and the vast ocean at the end. What a thrill and what a spear through the heart. I am astounded by the honesty and clarity of each word."
--Elizabeth Lesser

"Ensler has written a profound and vulnerable book, full of tenderness and strength. I was amazed by the clarity of her vision and the power of her message about the body and self. This book isn't meant only for patients; it is meant for anyone whose life has intersected with illness--in short, for all of us."
--Siddhartha Mukherjee

"I dare anyone to read "In the Body of the World" without crying, without crying out, without getting up and rising to this beautiful broken world with awe and gratitude. There is no pity here, only the raw force of courage in the face of fear and violence, and the healing grace of honesty."
--Terry Tempest Williams

"Eve Ensler incarnates the pain of the women in the Congo, victims of rape and torture; and of the Earth, victim of so much desecration. Her heart and body are broken, her anger is like fire, and the passion of her writing rattles your soul. This is true literature and true activism."
--Isabel Allende

"Eve Ensler's memoir is not only wild and raw and incredibly important, it's also that rarest of achievements--a compulsively readable, stunningly rendered work of art that delivers hope and truth, challenge and solace, sometimes simultaneously."
--Alexandra Fuller""

"Astonishing"
--Mary Oliver

"A masterpiece. Ensler has accomplished the impossible: weaving together huge, bold, world-changing ideas with beautiful writing, amazing metaphors, and original structure. Truly one of the most courageous and original works of our time."
--Naomi Klein

"This book is a ride, a river ride through rapids and depths and shallows, dried-up eddies, whirlpools and torrents, crystal-clear pools and the vast ocean at the end. What a thrill and what a spear through the heart. I am astounded by the honesty and clarity of each word."
--Elizabeth Lesser

"Ensler has written a profound and vulnerable book, full of tenderness and strength. I was amazed by the clarity of her vision and the power of her message about the body and self. This book isn't meant only for patients; it is meant for anyone whose life has intersected with illness--in short, for all of us."
--Siddhartha Mukherjee

"I dare anyone to read "In the Body of the World" without crying, without crying out, without getting up and rising to this beautiful broken world with awe and gratitude. There is no pity here, only the raw force of courage in the face of fear and violence, and the healing grace of honesty."
--Terry Tempest Williams

"Eve Ensler incarnates the pain of the women in the Congo, victims of rape and torture; and of the Earth, victim of so much desecration. Her heart and body are broken, her anger is like fire, and the passion of her writing rattles your soul. This is true literature and true activism."
--Isabel Allende

"Eve Ensler's memoir is not only wild and raw and incredibly important, it's also that rarest of achievements--a compulsively readable, stunningly rendered work of art that delivers hope and truth, challenge and solace, sometimes simultaneously."
--Alexandra Fuller""

"A riveting story of survival."
--Publishers Weekly

"Fierce, frank, raw and profoundly moving."
--Kirkus Reviews

"Astonishing"
--Mary Oliver

"A masterpiece. Ensler has accomplished the impossible: weaving together huge, bold, world-changing ideas with beautiful writing, amazing metaphors, and original structure. Truly one of the most courageous and original works of our time."
--Naomi Klein

"This book is a ride, a river ride through rapids and depths and shallows, dried-up eddies, whirlpools and torrents, crystal-clear pools and the vast ocean at the end. What a thrill and what a spear through the heart. I am astounded by the honesty and clarity of each word."
--Elizabeth Lesser

"Ensler has written a profound and vulnerable book, full of tenderness and strength. I was amazed by the clarity of her vision and the power of her message about the body and self. This book isn't meant only for patients; it is meant for anyone whose life has intersected with illness--in short, for all of us."
--Siddhartha Mukherjee

"I dare anyone to read "In the Body of the World" without crying, without crying out, without getting up and rising to this beautiful broken world with awe and gratitude. There is no pity here, only the raw force of courage in the face of fear and violence, and the healing grace of honesty."
--Terry Tempest Williams

"Eve Ensler incarnates the pain of the women in the Congo, victims of rape and torture; and of the Earth, victim of so much desecration. Her heart and body are broken, her anger is like fire, and the passion of her writing rattles your soul. This is true literature and true activism."
--Isabel Allende

"Eve Ensler's memoir is not only wild and raw and incredibly important, it's also that rarest of achievements--a compulsively readable, stunningly rendered work of art that delivers hope and truth, challenge and solace, sometimes simultaneously."
--Alexandra Fuller""

"A riveting story of survival."
--Publishers Weekly

"Fierce, frank, raw and profoundly moving."
--Kirkus Reviews

"Unforgettable...A story of stark, inspiring, often confrontational honesty. Ensler's message is clear: We can face the worst life has in store for us and create, even in the face of terror, a life of meaning and joy."--"The New York Times Book Review
"
"An intense, riveting memoir...not an easy book to read, but a necessary book to read for its fierce, passionate commitment to making the world a safe place for women."--"The Boston Globe
""Without a sliver of exaggeration, "In the Body of the World" is a soul-stretching, life-changing read."--Maria Popova, Brainpickings
"Astonishing."--Mary Oliver
"A masterpiece. Ensler has accomplished the impossible: weaving together huge, bold, world-changing ideas with beautiful writing, amazing metaphors, and original structure. Truly one of the most courageous and original works of our time."--Naomi Klein
"Ensler has written a profound and vulnerable book, full of tenderness and strength. I was amazed by the clarity of her vision and the power of her message about the body and self. This book isn't meant only for patients; it is meant for anyone whose life has intersected with illness--in short, for all of us."--Siddhartha Mukherjee
"This book is a ride, a river ride through rapids and depths and shallows, dried-up eddies, whirlpools and torrents, crystal-clear pools and the vast ocean at the end. What a thrill and what a spear through the heart. I am astounded by the honesty and clarity of each word."--Elizabeth Lesser
"I dare anyone to read "In the Body of the World" without crying, without crying out, without getting up and rising to this beautiful broken world with awe and gratitude. There is no pity here, only the raw force of courage in the face of fear and violence, and the healing grace of honesty."--Terry Tempest Williams
"Eve Ensler incarnates the pain of the women in the Congo, victims of rape and torture; and of the Earth, victim of so much desecration. Her heart and body are broken, her anger is like fire, and the passion of her writing rattles your soul. This is true literature and true activism."--Isabel Allende
"Eve Ensler's memoir is not only wild and raw and incredibly important, it's also that rarest of achievements--a compulsively readable, stunningly rendered work of art that delivers hope and truth, challenge and solace, sometimes simultaneously."--Alexandra Fuller""

Unforgettable...A story of stark, inspiring, often confrontational honesty. Ensler's message is clear: We can face the worst life has in store for us and create, even in the face of terror, a life of meaning and joy. "The New York Times Book Review"

An intense, riveting memoir...not an easy book to read, but a necessary book to read for its fierce, passionate commitment to making the world a safe place for women. "The Boston Globe"

Without a sliver of exaggeration, "In the Body of the World" is a soul-stretching, life-changing read. "Maria Popova, Brainpickings"

Astonishing. "Mary Oliver"

A masterpiece. Ensler has accomplished the impossible: weaving together huge, bold, world-changing ideas with beautiful writing, amazing metaphors, and original structure. Truly one of the most courageous and original works of our time. "Naomi Klein"

Ensler has written a profound and vulnerable book, full of tenderness and strength. I was amazed by the clarity of her vision and the power of her message about the body and self. This book isn't meant only for patients; it is meant for anyone whose life has intersected with illness--in short, for all of us. "Siddhartha Mukherjee"

This book is a ride, a river ride through rapids and depths and shallows, dried-up eddies, whirlpools and torrents, crystal-clear pools and the vast ocean at the end. What a thrill and what a spear through the heart. I am astounded by the honesty and clarity of each word. "Elizabeth Lesser"

I dare anyone to read "In the Body of the World" without crying, without crying out, without getting up and rising to this beautiful broken world with awe and gratitude. There is no pity here, only the raw force of courage in the face of fear and violence, and the healing grace of honesty. "Terry Tempest Williams"

Eve Ensler incarnates the pain of the women in the Congo, victims of rape and torture; and of the Earth, victim of so much desecration. Her heart and body are broken, her anger is like fire, and the passion of her writing rattles your soul. This is true literature and true activism. "Isabel Allende"

Eve Ensler's memoir is not only wild and raw and incredibly important, it's also that rarest of achievements--a compulsively readable, stunningly rendered work of art that delivers hope and truth, challenge and solace, sometimes simultaneously. "Alexandra Fuller""

About the Author

Eve Ensler is an internationally bestselling author and an award-winning playwright whose works include "The Vagina Monologues," "The Good Body," "Insecure at Last," and "I Am an Emotional Creature," since adapted for the stage as "Emotional Creature." She is the founder of V-Day, the global movement to end violence against women and girls, which has raised more than $90 million for local groups and activists, and inspired the global action One Billion Rising. Ensler lives in Paris and New York City.


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Simply one of the most powerful books I have read. Reading it has stirred something deep in me with regards to our connection to the earth and how having a greater sense of rootedness - in the world and in our bodies - might allow us to live a remarkable life.
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Beautifully written, flew through this book
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Amazing reading! Highly recommended.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars 131 reviews
40 of 41 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not for the Squeamish 2 May 2013
By judith straffin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Not for the squeamish or the fainthearted. Not for the indifferent or the complacent. Eve Ensler, famous for her play, The Vagina Monologues, has written an impassioned memoir which uses her personal story of enduring treatment for a huge, Stage IV uterine tumor, as a metaphor for our destruction of our planet and for our toleration of the atrocity of gang rape as a weapon of war. Again and again, Ensler shows us the links between her own ordeal and the ordeal of a suffering planet, especially its women.

Ensler became absorbed in the stories of these women, especially in Congo, who had been so savagely raped that they developed fistulae (a fistula is a tear in the vaginal wall), which made them permanently incontinent. Ensler was so horrified by their ordeals that she vowed to create, for these women, a refuge where they could heal, physically and emotionally. She pays tribute to a brilliant and selfless, heroic doctor, Dr. Mukwege, who has performed surgery on these damaged women, and to the women who, even if they cannot walk, still sing and dance, and who, in turn, help others like themselves. Ensler began fund-raising for a place, called City of Joy, where women could receive surgery to heal their bodies AND, at the same time, rescue their souls.

Given her own history, Ensler was shocked to discover the irony of a tumor the size of a grapefruit in her uterus. Although aware that something was wrong, she ignored the tumor until it had spread throughout her reproductive system, threatening her, at 57, with disfigurement and death. She shows us the links between her own personal denial and our collective denial of phenomena like global warming, the destruction of species, and the use of rape as a weapon of war. Fully aware of this irony, she, who had written so compellingly about these women, developed the same sort of fistula as they, although she was lucky enough to have insurance and access to skilled care. For me, the story of Ensler's own ordeal was, the most compelling aspect of the book; I sometimes got a bit tired of her belaboring the correspondences between her own story and that of our damaged planet. I know that, for her, these correspondences are all-important, but even feminist environmentalist pacifists may tire of her incessant pontificating.

Still, In the Body of the World, is a bold, engrossing, impassioned plea for all of us to wake up to the damage we are doing ourselves, others, and our planet. Although this book is graphic, uncompromising and terrifying, it is ultimately a testament to survival, and to joy.

Four stars.
5.0 out of 5 stars Riveting 10 Nov. 2013
By Kindle Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Eve Ensler's memoir is the most extrodinary, powerful book I have read in years. Her writing style is close to poetic, yet her material is so painful and raw. It is a story, despite the topic (incest, uterine cancer treatment, the brutalities that are taking place in the Congo against female etc.) needs to be told and heard. She holds nothing back in her honest portrayal of her life experiences and I am in awe of her courage, her vision and that someone as giving and caring as Ms. Ensler's not only turns her horrific experiences into something good, but that she offers us this exceptional memoir to share her views and work to date. Truly a a gift that shall remain with me.
5.0 out of 5 stars tWhile this was in no way a happy book, there is nothing happy about cancer 5 May 2015
By patricia murphy bolten - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
tWhile this was in no way a happy book, there is nothing happy about cancer. As a near death cancer survivor, without a support system of other "possible survivors". (the medical standard of survival is five years.) If cancer comes back and kills you after five years, you're still a survivor. Statistics are created to feed the medical machine (in my opinion, experience and understanding of information from doctor friends). Eve doesn't care to address this issue. Her mission is different. I found myself journaling, perhaps even more than I was reading. It helped me and I have been in need of this help for many years. Cancer doesn't begin the day we're diagnosed. My own had been a confusing fifteen years prior to that event. Eve's story, juxtaposed against a background of murder and rape as a war tool in the Congo, and what is happening to women around the globe is jolting for anyone, male or female, who is brave enough to deal with these impossible issues. Sometimes, as in Ann's and my case it's necessary in order to "heal". We never completely heal from either assault. Eve Ensler is brave, brilliant and not self-indulgent as she takes on this monumental task. Bravo, Eve. And Bravo to any man or woman who will read this beautifully written expose'/memoir; with or without a cancer experience (or a Congo experience).
5.0 out of 5 stars Gritty & gorgeous at the same time. 26 Feb. 2015
By Lowly Peon - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
What I love about Eve Ensler is that she admits that she is who she is. Sometimes it comes across as self-centered or egotistical, but we all are. She tells about herself while reminding us each about how we are.

I wondered how it might be to go into Eve's world of cancer. Dramatic? Sure, but isn't cancer treatment really quite dramatic? Isn't what's going on in the world around us dramatic? Of course. Both her telling of herself and some spoken word artsy fartsy stuff thrown in you can't escape the world of Eve. Because she is who she is, this probably wouldn't read very good as just a novel. I feel like it's probably best as an audiobook (read by Eve herself) so you really get her flavor.

If you already love Eve - this will be the same. Don't be fooled by a boring looking cover or it being about cancer. This is still the Eve you know and love and wish you were sometimes.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "You must make up your mind. The reason that you have survived when so many have died was you would meet with this affair." 16 May 2013
By Amelia Gremelspacher - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
5.0 out of 5 stars "You must make up your mind. The reason that you have survived when so many have died was that y
Eve was "raised in America . All value lies in the future, in the dream, in production. There is no present tense." And eve has always lived outside her body at full speed taking on every experience as deeply as she can delve. From self destructive, drug addled promiscuity, she has raised herself to bear unflinching witness to the violations and torture of women. She has served as an activist, facing down injustice and most recently the actual "policy" of rape in the Congo. She implies, and I believe, that her unflinching immersion in that which is impossible to see would protect her from more violation to herself.

Well that didn't work. She has stage three or maybe stage four b uterine cancer. And just like that she has entered the world of the invisible where people cannot bear to look. I am a looker, and I believe in bearing witness so I deeply appreciate this journal of her illness laced with the scenes of horror she has witnessed. The rhetoric can really get away from her, but she is so deeply sincere, I cannot deduct points. And you can always skip the purple prose if you like.

She is not every woman's woman. She sees exclusive love partnerships as suspect. This after all is the author of the Vagina Monologues. She is not a flincher and she has not softened the lights for this story. But it is a true look at her disease. I appreciate her presence in the now, and take the point she makes to do so ourselves.
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