Upcoming Event

Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich

discusses

The Fact of a Body:
A Murder and a Memoir

This event includes a book signing

Date

May
16
Tuesday
May 16, 2017
7:00 PM

Location

Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138

Tickets

This event is free; no tickets are required.

Harvard Book Store welcomes ALEXANDRIA MARZANO-LESNEVICH—Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School and a teacher at GrubStreet—for a discussion of The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir.

About The Fact of a Body

Before Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich begins a summer job at a law firm in Louisiana, working to help defend men accused of murder, she thinks her position is clear. The child of two lawyers, she is staunchly anti-death penalty. But the moment convicted murderer Ricky Langley’s face flashes on the screen as she reviews old tapes—the moment she hears him speak of his crimes—she is overcome with the feeling of wanting him to die. Shocked by her reaction, she digs deeper and deeper into the case. Despite their vastly different circumstances, something in his story is unsettlingly, uncannily familiar.

Crime, even the darkest and most unsayable acts, can happen to any one of us. As Alexandria pores over the facts of the murder, she finds herself thrust into the complicated narrative of Ricky’s childhood. And by examining the details of Ricky’s case, she is forced to face her own story, to unearth long-buried family secrets, and reckon with a past that colors her view of Ricky's crime.

But another surprise awaits: She wasn’t the only one who saw her life in Ricky’s.

An intellectual and emotional thriller that is also a different kind of murder mystery, The Fact of a Body is a book not only about how the story of one crime was constructed—but about how we grapple with our own personal histories. Along the way it tackles questions about the nature of forgiveness, and if a single narrative can ever really contain something as definitive as the truth. This groundbreaking, heart-stopping work, ten years in the making, shows how the law is more personal than we would like to believe—and the truth more complicated, and powerful, than we could ever imagine.

Praise

"This book is a marvel. With unflinching precision and immense compassion, Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich peels apart both a murder case and her own experience to reveal how we try to make sense of the past. The Fact of a Body is equal parts gripping and haunting and will leave you questioning whether any one story can hold the full truth." —Celeste Ng, author of the New York Times best seller Everything I Never Told You

"The Fact of a Body is a remarkable act of witness, an anatomy of silence and the violence it abets, a book of both public and private accountings. Rejecting the false comfort of certainty, it confronts the inadequacy of all our tools for fathoming not just unforgivable crimes, but the baffling, human grace that can forgive them. This is a profound and riveting book." —Garth Greenwell, author of What Belongs to You

"The balancing act here performed between autobiography and journalism, documentary and imagination, witnessing and reckoning, the tender and the terrible, is shrewd and graceful. In the hands of a lesser human or writer, it could have all fallen apart; instead, Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich has given us an exquisite and exquisitely difficult work of art that makes a fierce claim on our attention, conscience, and heart." —Maggie Nelson, award-winning author of The Argonauts

Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich
Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich

Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich

Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich's essays appear in the New York TimesOxford American, and the anthologies True Crime and Waveform: Twenty-first Century Essays by Women, as well as many other publications. A 2014 National Endowment for the Arts fellow, she has received a Rona Jaffe Award and has twice been a fellow at both MacDowell and Yaddo. She received her JD from Harvard, her MFA at Emerson College, and her BA from Columbia University. She now lives in Boston, where she teaches at Grub Street and in the graduate public policy program at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

Photo credit: Nina Subin

Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138

Walking from the Harvard Square T station: 2 minutes

As you exit the station, reverse your direction and walk east along Mass. Ave. in front of the Cambridge Savings Bank. Cross Dunster St. and proceed along Mass. Ave for three more blocks. You will pass Au Bon Pain, JP Licks, and TD Bank. Harvard Book Store is located at the corner of Mass. Ave. and Plympton St.

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While we can't guarantee fulfillment of a signed book pre-order, our authors are almost always able to sign extra books to fulfill such orders.

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FAQ:

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Featured event books will be for sale at the event for 20% off. Thank you for supporting this author series with your purchases.
General Info
(617) 661-1515
info@harvard.com

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(617) 661-1424 x6
mediainquiries@harvard.com

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