THE BODY IN QUESTION
A spare, masterful novel about a shocking murder trial, a sequestered jury, and an affair between two of the jurors - the woman, in free fall in her life and marriage to a much older man.
Set in a utilitarian marble cube of a courthouse, more Soviet than Le Corbusier and in the court-appointed motel off the interstate.
Hannah (Juror C-2), a 52-year-old former photographer of rock stars and socialites, and Graham (Juror F-17), a 41 year-old anatomy professor, sequestered at the local motel fall into a furtive affair. They keep their oath, as jurors, never to discuss the trial.
During deliberations the lovers learn they are on opposing sides of the case and realize that their fellow jurors are wise to their affair.
After the trial's end, as Hannah returns home to her much older, now, suddenly, frail husband. An exploding media fury involving the case catches them all up in a frenzy of public outrage at a jury that seems to have convicted the wrong twin, and a judge who has received an anonymous handwritten letter about a series of sexual encounters, calling into question their respective verdicts, and announcing she is releasing the jurors' names to the media. Hannah's "one last dalliance before she is too old" takes on profoundly personal and moral consequences, as the novel moves to its affecting, powerful and surprising conclusion.
Jill Ciment was born in Montreal, Canada. She is the author of Small Claims, a collection of short stories and novellas; The Law of Falling Bodies, Teeth of the Dog, The Tattoo Artist, Heroic Measures, and Act of God, novels; and Half a Life, a memoir. She has been awarded a National Endowment for the Arts, a NEA Japan Fellowship Prize, two New York State Fellowships for the Arts, the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Ciment is a professor at the University of Florida. She lives with her husband, Arnold Mesches, in Gainesville, Florida and Brooklyn, New York.
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