Book review: The Motion of the Body Through Space by Lionel Shriver

I love Lionel Shriver’s writing style so was thrilled to be offered the chance to read this.

The Motion of the Body Through Space is dry, witty, sad and brilliantly observed. It provides a window into a marriage as a couple adjust to the changes forced on them by ageing.

Recently-retired Remington who’s never done any exercise has suddenly developed an obsession with running, a sport his wife Serenata has excelled at until recently when her knees gave out. Even if Remington makes it to the finish line will their marriage survive?

The characters are complex and flawed and their portrayal is unflinching. Serenata who’s “never been a team player” and has “always kept others at bay” is now questioning her identity and resents her husband’s enthusiasm for the sport and his glamorous personal trainer. Her waspish remarks (eg “It doesn’t bother you…that your ambition is hopelessly trite?”) mask her fear that while he’s found a new lease of life she at 60 is over the hill and can see “the decline that spread before her.” The relationship with their adult children is also difficult, making this an uncomfortable, entertaining and thought-provoking read, exploring themes of loneliness, jealousy and betrayal.

Would I recommend this book? Yes to fans of Lionel Shriver or anyone who enjoys pithy domestic dramas.

The Motion of the Body Through Space will be published by HarperCollins on 20 May.

My thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for sending me a copy to review.


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