Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich with Cleve Jones / The Fact of a Body

Wednesday, September 6, 2017 - 7:30pm to 9:00pm
Body: 

Booksmith is thrilled to host Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich for her murder-memoir ten years in the making, The Fact of a Body. 

 

When she applied to Harvard Law School, Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich wrote her admissions essay about her staunch opposition to the death penalty. The child of two lawyers, her position had always been clear in her mind. So when she finds herself at her first summer internship at a New Orleans law firm that is working on the re-trial of death-row convicted murderer and child molester Ricky Langley, she feels ready to begin her life’s work.


But when she watches the tape of Ricky’s confession, she is overcome by one thought: she wants him to die. Shocked by her reaction, Alexandria digs deeper and deeper into the case and realizes that something about this story, so seemingly distant from her own suburban upbringing in New Jersey, is uncannily familiar. As she pores over the details of the trial and the complicated narrative of Ricky’s childhood, she is forced to face her own story, to unearth long-buried family secrets, and to reckon with how her own past colors her view of Ricky’s crime.


Through Alexandria’s meticulously researched and vividly reconstructed telling of Ricky’s story and her deeply personal investigation into her own past, it becomes clear that she isn’t the only one using her own memories to understand the case. Everyone—from the judge to the jury foreman to the defense attorney to Ricky’s own mother—sees what happened through the lens of their own experience.
 

 



 

“The balancing act here performed between autobiography and journalism, documentary and imagination, witnessing and reckoning, the tender and the terrible, is shrewd and graceful…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, NBCC award-winning author of The Argonauts

 



 

Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich was awarded numerous fellowships to write this book, including a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, a Rona Jaffe Award, and fellowships to the MacDowell Colony and Yaddo. Her essays and short fiction have appeared in The New York Times, Oxford American, Salon, and the anthology True Crime. She has a JD from Harvard, an MFA from Emerson and a BA from Columbia University. Alexandria currently lives in Boston, Massachusetts, where she teaches memoir writing at Grub Street and graduate public policy students at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

 

 

Cleve Jones is a human rights activist, lecturer, and the author of When We Rise: My Life in the Movement, which partly inspired the ABC miniseries of the same name. Mentored by LGBTQ pioneer Harvey Milk, Cleve co-founded the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, conceived and founded The NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt, led the 2009 National March for Equality in Washington D.C., and served on the Advisory Board of the American Foundation for Equal Rights, which challenged California’s Proposition 8 in the US Supreme Court. Today he works as an organizer for the hospitality workers’ union UNITE HERE. 

 

RSVP is appreciated, but not required. If you cannot attend the event, but would like a signed copy of The Fact of a Bodyplace an order below and fill out the special requests field. 


 

Books: 
The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9781250080547
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Flatiron Books - May 16th, 2017