Cover Image: The Motion of the Body Through Space

The Motion of the Body Through Space

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Lionel Shriver's trademark voice--sharp, cynical, incisive and unflinching--shapes every paragraph and twist in this stinging novel which takes a hard look at our obsessions.
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The couple is the Alabasters, Remington, and Serenata. They are in their sixties, living in a small town in upstate New York. The last name hits the punch of satire immediately and doesn't let go for the entire novel. Serenata is a loner who does voice work for audible books, infomercials, and video games. She likes working alone, being alone, except for life with her Remington, who is equally as uber-intelligent as Renata. Remington is dismal because he lost his job at the Department of Transportation in Albany. Remington tangled with his boss, a woman half his age who got the top job he perceived as belonging to him.

The Alabasters have two children who do not come into the story for a while, but they are both disappointments. One is a religious fanatic, and the other only shows up for money from time to time. Remington's misery over his forced retirement sets the tone for life in the Alabaster home. Serenata has always done extreme amounts of physical exercise and is now facing knee replacement surgery. I was there with her as she described anecdotal information on the difficulty of recuperation. I have arthritis, not brought on by exercise. LS had me at knee pain, a soul mate in the senior years.

Remington surprises everyone by deciding to take up running. The novel takes off wildly with his head-on dive into the world of extreme athleticism. An hysterical take on a personal trainer, named Bambi, becomes part of the story. Life becomes hell for poor Renata. She may be unlikable as are all Shriver's characters, but she is my sister with exploding knee pain.

Remington becomes as obnoxious as any person clinging to a cult, not heeding any advice but going forward to complete a triathlon. Serenata is not supportive. The MettleMan group tends to hang out at her house after their sessions and Serenata becomes isolated in a way she never imagined, she is without her partner in all this, her Remington.

This newest Lionel Shriver satire is at its best, chronicling just one of the extremes of our society. Why take a walk around the block when you can worship at the church of proving you are more than a mere mortal. It is so much better to risk life and limb to prove something to yourself and fellow cultists.

Lionel Shriver has my vote with whatever she writes. Her gift of writing is there on page one. She faces her demons and riffs on every stereotype out there, even those made at her expense. This new novel is perfect writing and insight into the world of extreme individual training.

Thank you to Lionel Shriver, Harper, and NetGalley for the e-ARC of this novel, to be published on May 5th.
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THE MOTION OF THE BODY THROUGH SPACE begins first thing with Remington, Serenata's husband of 32 years, startling announcement that he's decided to run a marathon despite never having been interested in physical fitness.. He becomes obsessed with training for it at the same time that Serenata, 60, is forced to quit her own exercise program of running, swimming and biking due to knee injuries. This imbalance causes friction between the couple as well as witty conversations and observations.
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I really could not get into this book. I just skimmed through a lot of it. Maybe I was not in the right frame of mind. I did not feel a relationship with the characters.
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Oh, Lionel Shriver. Always worth reading but, for me, sometimes unpleasant. Not, mind you, unpleasant as far as themes. We Have to Talk About Kevin was engaging, propulsive and shocking, all the while with sympathetic characters and page turning suspense.  Then there was So Much for That.  Promising theme but such unappealing cast of characters. Did not finish,  so take that opinion with a grain of salt.  Now The Motion of the Body Through Space.  Unpleasant people doing unpleasant things with not a glimmer of an answer to the question of why. Why care? Why spend time watching them?  I'll keep reading Shriver because she is smart, goes her own way in the face of controversy and serves up  The Mandibles or The Post-Birthday World.
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I received The Motion Of The Body Through Space from Net Galley, in exchange for an honest review.
After Remington retired, he decided to run a marathon.
He never exercised much, so this is out of the ordinary.
His wife has been an exercise freak, But now She is now out of shape and faces an operation on her knees.
For training at the marathon. Remington becomes an narcissist.
This is a typical Lionel Shriver book, with a lot of psychological claims.
This is a excellent book.
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In this novel, Lionel Shriver takes a look at the world of extreme sports. A 60-something couple, married for decades and with two grown children, the wife always active with a daily exercise routine and the husband less so. Suddenly, the husband decides to become fit. He almost immediately begins hiring a demanding, aggressive and gorgeous young trainer and begins increasing his workouts to several hours a day, with punishing, grueling routines that result in painful injuries.

The wife resents his uber-fitness, the gorgeous trainer, his new group of fitness-fanatic friends, and the exteme compulsiveness that has overtaken her husband. Amidst this, though, I never got a feeling of love or care between them. They never had any tenderness, only sarcasm and angry exchanges. I couldn't figure out how this couple were together for so many years when they had obvious contempt and competitiveness between them.

The wife begins exercising compulsively, in order to match her husband's new fitness regime, not because she enjoys it. She injures herself. Husband doesn't seem to notice or care. He competes in marathons and extreme challenges and continuously injures himself.

It is really quite a study on what we force ourselves to endure versus our enjoyment of our lives, particularly our later lives.
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