Shortlisted: Best First Novel
The Costa Judges: ‘A stunning debut exploring grief and sadness with a great twist – brilliant.’
The occasionally omniscient narration sometimes jars, and the twist at the end feels unnecessary, as if the author were trying to squeeze a domestic thriller out of a subtle story of loss, what it means to inhabit a woman’s body, and how love and care can be expressed through touch. But on the whole this is extraordinarily sensuous storytelling that makes the reader’s heart ache in sympathy.
Although not without its flaws, An Unremarkable Body is a novel that shows notable promise. Occasional over-writing – the description of a cook who “simmered dinner into submission”; or the sight of a woman crying, “her body sought to service emotion with water” – and slightly stilted dialogue are reminders that this is indeed a first novel, but I’m already intrigued to see what Lodato writes next.