The Body Lies by Jo Baker [Book Review]

Book Review

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Title: The Body Lies

Author: Jo Baker

Publisher: Knopf

Publish Date: June 18, 2019

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Series: na

My Rating: 3/5

The Body Lies by Jo Baker


A dark, thrilling new novel from the best-selling author of Longbourn: a work of riveting psychological suspense that grapples with how to live as a woman in the world–or in the pages of a book–when the stakes are dangerously high.

When a young writer accepts a job at a university in the remote English countryside, it’s meant to be a fresh start, away from the bustle of London and the scene of a violent assault she is desperate to forget. But despite the distractions of her new life and the demands of single motherhood, her nerves continue to jangle. To make matters worse, a vicious debate about violence against women inflames the tensions and mounting rivalries in her creative-writing class. When a troubled student starts turning in chapters that blur the lines between fiction and reality, the professor recognizes herself as the main character in his book–and he has written her a horrific fate. Will she be able to stop life imitating art before it’s too late? At once a breathless cat-and-mouse game and a layered interrogation of the fetishization of the female body, The Body Lies gives us an essential story for our time that will have you checking the locks on your doors.

The Body Lies by Jo Baker


A pregnant woman is assaulted. Three years later, she is struggling with living in London and afraid to go out alone. For a fresh start, she takes a job teaching creative writing at a university in the remote English countryside. During her course, a male student writes disturbing stories that blur the line between fiction and reality.

The unnamed narrator is a woman who struggles with life after an assault. The assault colors her view of the world, and eventually leads her to move away from London. Her husband chooses to stay in London for his work, so they attempt to maintain a long-distance relationship, spending time together on holidays and occasional weekends. She move to the countryside with her son and starts a new job that proves to be more challenging than anticipated. The new job has a higher workload than she agreed to, and no guidance. Add in the loneliness of not having her husband around and the struggles of being the mother of a toddler, the narrator is stressed and exhausted. The character development is well done, and provides an insightful look into challenges of being a woman.

The narrator’s life is stressful enough, and when a male student writes disturbing stories, she starts to feel unsafe. The suspense builds slowly in this atmospheric novel. The Body Lies is a good read for fans of literary crime fiction. Slow-burning, dark, and unsettling.

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