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Strange Bodies by [Theroux, Marcel]
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Strange Bodies Kindle Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Review

Ingenious ... The unfolding of the narrative is genuinely eerie, but the richness of allusion and elegance of design makeStrange Bodiesas much an inquiry into language and identity as a high-concept literary thriller ... Moving as well as thought-provoking, as elegiac as it is gripping. (Guardian)

Strange Bodies is an examination of contemporary consciousness. But from its robust hook, through its comic set-up, to its dark if hopeful conclusion, it is also a kindly, intelligently entertaining thriller. (TLS)

An absorbing and disturbing metaphysical tale, challenging everything we believe about what it means to be human. (John Gray, author of Straw Dogs -)

This is a superb technological fantasy, a tense thriller and a brilliantly imagined debate about the relationship between body and soul. Wonderful. (The Times)

A bold and wonderfully weird novel by Marcel Theroux, which reads like an intelligent, witty flirtation between serious literature and science fiction ... The perfect literary thriller for the internet age ... Theroux weaves a taut, edge-of-your-seat tale which asks whether one way or another we can live on after death. Couldn't put it down. (Red)

Brilliantly imagined ... You'll be left with much to ponder by Theroux's intellectually engaging imagination. (Metro)

What is on the menu is superior science fiction ... the novel exercises a grim fascination. (Mail on Sunday)

Theroux demonstrates both great literary craft and an eye for the worst kinds of human suffering. (SFX Magazine)

Book Description

Strange Bodies by Marcel Theroux: It started when Nicky Slopen came back from the dead . . .

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 778 KB
  • Print Length: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; Main edition (30 April 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00BE64W26
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #158,142 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
In an age when our written words are more publicly available than ever, thanks to blogging, social networking, self-published e-books and internet message boards, Marcel Theroux's Strange Bodies presents us with a prospect that seems even more sinister than it otherwise might: the notion that our personalities, our consciousness, our very being, could be reproduced solely from our written output.

Told through a combination of written forms including a psychiatrist's case notes and the memoir of one of her patients, Strange Bodies explores some expansive themes, including identity, our thirst for immortality, scientific ethics and what really makes us the people we are.

Like Theroux's dystopian novel Far North, Strange Bodies has many of the trappings of science-fiction, but this is almost incidental - genre-wise, this is literary fiction more akin to, say, Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go or the speculative works of Margaret Atwood than full-on sci-fi. The plot has all the drive and thrust of a thriller, with Nicholas Slopen, an academic whose specialism is the life and work of Samuel Johnson, finding himself pulled into a dangerous scientific conspiracy growing from a seed planted in the former Soviet Union, but Strange Bodies is much more than that. It's also a thought-provoking novel about language and how it shapes our identities and relationships.

Nicholas is a convincingly inept hero with numerous faults, although his growing awareness of them and his increasingly heightened understanding as the story unfolds mean it's impossible for the reader not to sympathise with him, often deeply, and his relationship with Jack, an outwardly brutish savant with a seemingly unique talent, is perhaps one of the most touching elements of the book.
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By FictionFan TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 30 April 2013
Format: Hardcover
When Nicholas Slopen turns up at the shop of an old friend, she is stunned. He looks completely different, his voice is different but, most surprisingly of all, she'd heard he'd died the year before. And yet once they start talking, she is soon convinced that it is indeed he.

This intelligent and very well written book poses the question - what makes us, us? Can we be defined, summed up, by the words we speak? What if we are sundered irrevocably from all our relationships - personal, professional, social: are we still us?

Our narrator, known as Q by his psychiatrist but calling himself Dr Nicholas Slopen, relates his story from the secure facility of the Royal Bethlehem Hospital (a descendant of Bedlam) to where he has been sectioned. Since Dr Slopen died the year before, and the authorities have his body and autopsy photographs to prove it, and since Q looks nothing like him, he is considered to be suffering from a delusion. But he has all Dr Slopen's memories and an explanation of how he has become who - or what - he is. An explanation so fantastical that he understands why no-one will believe him...

Dr Slopen's story begins when he is asked to use his expertise to authenticate some letters apparently written by Samuel Johnson. He is entirely convinced by the handwriting and content that these letters can only be genuine, but they are written on paper that wouldn't have been available to Johnson. From this beginning, the author takes us on an investigation into identity, individuality and authenticity that is entertaining and unsettling in equal measure. Theroux weaves notions of psychiatry, philosophy, science and politics into a story where the human motivations become scarily believable even while the central point remains deliberately incredible.
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Format: Hardcover
A taut piece of literary science fiction; a witty philosophical jeu d'esprit; a profound meditation on mortality and fatherhood; a London thriller; Strange Bodies is all of these and more.
It starts with the reappearance of a dead man, or rather a man who claims to be the incarnation of a someone who is dead - the catch being that the revenant in question does not actually resemble the deceased.
How did "Nicky Slopen" - if it is he - come to inhabit another man's body? The answer involves a circuitous and highly entertaining journey into a world of shadowy international gangsters and semi-detached suburbanites in Tooting, taking in the thrills of a cloak-and-dagger investigation and the routine heartbreaks of adultery and divorce.
I confess I have a soft spot for well-crafted genre novels - and also that I have relationship with the author (he's my brother). But those two caveats notwithstanding, Strange Bodies is a superb book: well-paced, full of true-to-life observations, beautifully written and highly inventive.
The themes are developed with wonderful delicacy and the narrative takes in a trove of fascinating bits of historical esoterica from all over the world. The more fantastical elements never feel forced but serve instead to explore the oldest questions of the human condition: the soul's imprisonment in the body, the aging process, the nature of insanity, the inevitability of loss and the redemption of love. Strange Bodies bears comparison with some of my favourite books - Peter Carey's My Life as a Fake, Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go, evoking a more benign Michel Houellebecq, or a longer-form H.P. Lovecraft...
If any of these are remotely your cup of tea, you are guaranteed to enjoy Strange Bodies.
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