Saturday, July 1, 2023

Bodies of Light

Bodies of Light by Jennifer Down
9/28/21; 448 pages
The Text Publishing Company
Winner of the 2022 Miles Franklin Literary Award 

Bodies of Light by Jennifer Down is a highly recommended traumatic and heartbreaking story of the life of one Australian woman. Maggie's life has consisted of one appalling, traumatic experience after an other, starting with her childhood, her time in foster/group care homes and continuing with heartbreaking, dreadful events into adulthood. This is the winner of the 2022 Miles Franklin Literary Award.

This is not a pleasant novel to read. It is distressing, bleak, and harrowing throughout the entire novel. Yes, the quality of the writing is excellent, but the narrative never gives the reader a true pause from the feeling of a life of futility and hopelessness. There are brief periods where you think she is going to overcome her past experiences and live a fulfilling life, but they are brief as another horrific turn of events will quickly follow. Maggie does keep trying to cope with everything. The first half of the novel is stronger than the last half.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of the Text Publishing Company via Edelweiss.


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