Maps Of Our Spectacular Bodies
Winner of the Desmond Elliott Prize 2022
Longlisted for the Booker Prize 2022
Today I might trace the rungs of her larynx or tap at her trachea like the bones of a xylophone . . .
Something gleeful and malevolent is moving in Lia’s body, learning her life from the inside out. A shape-shifter. A disaster tourist. It’s travelling down the banks of her canals. It’s spreading.
When a sudden diagnosis upends Lia’s world, the boundaries between her past and her present begin to collapse. Deeply buried secrets stir awake. As the voice prowling in Lia takes hold of her story, and the landscape around becomes indistinguishable from the one within, Lia and her family are faced with some of the hardest questions of all: how can we move on from the events that have shaped us, when our bodies harbour everything? And what does it mean to die with grace, when you’re simply not ready to let go?
Maps of Our Spectacular Bodies is a story of coming-of-age at the end of a life. Utterly heart-breaking yet darkly funny, Maddie Mortimer’s astonishing debut is a symphonic journey through one woman’s body: a wild and lyrical celebration of desire, forgiveness, and the darkness within us all.
Praise For MAPS OF OUR SPECTACULAR BODIES
'Here is a book to dance and sing about. An extraordinary, kaleidoscopic dive into language.’ Daisy Johnson
‘An original and memorable novel written in shimmering prose. The characters stayed with me long after I’d finished reading.’ Sarah Moss
‘MAPS OF OUR SPECTACULAR BODIES is a beautiful novel about death that feels completely alive, pulsing with tenderness and wit.’ Megan Hunter
'Both expansive and intimate, MAPS OF OUR SPECTACULAR BODIES is an intricate portrait of a life hurtling towards the inevitable. An extraordinary debut.' Kiran Millwood Hargrave, Sunday Times bestselling author of The Mercies
‘Lyrical and beautiful, this is a novel unlike anything else, telling the story of a dying mother but in a totally unexpected way. Described by author Sarah Moss as “playful and profound”, keep an eye out for this on the prize shortlists’ Stylist, ‘Books You Can’t Miss in 2022’
‘It may move between different styles and moods, but underpinning it all is the book’s bursting energy and, in the face of death, its verve for life.’ i News
’This technically dazzling debut…Mortimer has the same felicity with language as Jon McGregor, combining an incantatory prose style with imagery so acute it almost burns… She audaciously uses the novel form to push at the limits of what we can see.’ Clare Allfree, The Mail
‘Restlessly inventive…the capriciousness of this voice is sharply funny, frustrating, and genuinely off. Maps of Our Spectacular Bodies sets its own terms, however strange and conflicted those terms may be.’ The Guardian
‘Utterly heartbreaking yet darkly funny, Maddie Mortimer’s astonishing debut is a symphonic journey through one woman’s body: a wild and lyrical celebration of desire, forgiveness, and the darkness within us all.’ LitHub
‘Stylistically and technically, Mortimer is dazzlingly inventive’ De Morgen, Netherlands
‘The British debutant Maddie Mortimer excels with different voices, time shifts, word games, lexical glossaries and drawings. (…) The voices and the leaps give meaning, and it becomes one of these books where you just have to trust the author, this young impressive debutant, and let yourself be carried away.’ Cathrine Krøger, Dagbladet Norway, 5 stars