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Maps of Our Spectacular Bodies

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This lyrical debut novel is at once a passionate coming-of-age story, a meditation on illness and death, and a kaleidoscopic journey through one woman’s life—told in part by the malevolent voice of her disease.

Lia, her husband Harry, and their beloved daughter, Iris, are a precisely balanced family of three. With Iris struggling to navigate the social tightrope of early adolescence, their tender home is a much-needed refuge. But when a sudden diagnosis threatens to derail each of their lives, the secrets of Lia’s past come rushing into the present, and the world around them begins to transform.

Deftly guided through time, we discover the people who shaped Lia’s youth; from her deeply religious mother to her troubled first love. In turn, each will take their place in the shifting landscape of Lia’s body; at the center of which dances a gleeful narrator, learning her life from the inside, growing more emboldened by the day.

Pivoting between the domestic and the epic, the comic and the heart-breaking, this astonishing novel unearths the darkness and levity of one woman’s life to symphonic effect.

Maddie Mortimer was born in 1996. She received her BA in English literature from the University of Bristol. She lives in London, where she works as a screenwriter and an author. Maps of Our Spectacular Bodies is her first novel.

"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, author of The Mercies

"Here is a book to dance and sing about. An extraordinary, kaleidoscopic dive into language."—Daisy Johnson, author of Sisters

"An original and memorable novel written in shimmering prose. The characters stayed with me long after I’d finished reading."—Sarah Moss, author of Summerwater

"Maps of Our Spectacular Bodies is a beautiful novel about death that feels completely alive, pulsing with tenderness and wit." —Megan Hunter, author of The End We Start From