The Motion of the Body Through Space PDF/EPUB ê of ↠ PDF

In Lionel Shriver’s entertaining send up of today’s cult of exercise—which not only encourages better health but now like all religions also seems to promise meaning social superiority and eternal life—an aging husband’s sudden obsession with extreme sport makes him unbearableAfter an ignominious early retirement Remington announces to his wife Serenata that he’s decided to run a marathon This from a sedentary man in his sixties who’s never done a lick of exercise in his life His wife can’t help but observe that his ambition is “hopelessly trite” A loner Serenata disdains mass group activities of any sort Besides his timing is cruel Serenata has long been the couple’s exercise freak but by age sixty her private fitness regimes have destroyed her knees and she’ll soon face debilitating surgery Yes becoming active would be good for Remington’s heart but then why not just go for a walk? Without several thousand of your closest friends?As Remington joins the cult of fitness that increasingly consumes the Western world her once modest husband burgeons into an unbearable narcissist Ignoring all his other obligations he engages a saucy sexy personal trainer named Bambi who treats Serenata with contempt When Remington sets his sights on the legendarily grueling triathlon MettleMan Serenata is sure he’ll end up injured or dead And even if he does survive their marriage may notThe Motion of the Body Through Space is vintage Lionel Shriver written with psychological insight a rich cast of characters lots of verve and petulance an astute reading of contemporary culture and an emotionally resonant ending

10 thoughts on “The Motion of the Body Through Space

  1. says:

    I am sorry to say that this was not a book for me Lionel Shriver's skewering of our contemporary society's obsession with the fitness craze failed to capture my interest throughout and just goes to show how the same book can elicit such widely different reactions This is not a review I wanted to write many of my goodreads friends love it and I even had it recommended to me I will keep this brief the characters held little appeal for me feeling too much like cliches and the story just did not engage me However I will say to readers that they should read other far positive reviews before making the decision to read this

  2. says:

    Audiobookebook syncAudio narration read by Laurence BouvardNOT A BOOK FOR EVERYONEButI LOVED ITha in the same way I loved how I felt after running my very first marathon —in Oakland Ca years ago — in pouring rain from start to finish Paul greeted me at the finish line with dry clothes and a congratulatory hug kiss Off to a yummy cafe for ‘food’prereuisites are reuired HaReaders MUST check off at least 5 of these things before being ALLOWED to read “The Motion of Body Through Space” Here’s the prereuisite list all in funReaders must be married at least 10 yearsYou’ve paid 200 for a pair of running shoeswhen you hear the word ‘Ironman’ you don’t even cringeYou’ve had sport injuries sports related surgeriesYou’re 60 years old or older and can still bend down with a flat back and touch your toesYou’ve had a competitive streak with your spouse over fitness disciplinesYou own spandex fitness clothesYou love exercise and tracking your progressYou’re obsessed with fitness competition toned bodies food calories training schedules fashionable running clothes detox regimens and morning ‘burn’ endurance or sprint workoutsYou love reading books with unlikable characters social injustice pisses you offYou roll your eyes but ‘wonder’ about the truth of ranting dialogue conversationsYou adore your father in law; he adores you backYou feel resentful about something in lifeThis book is a SATIREabout a married couple in their 60’s Serenata and her husband Remington have a few problems to sort outRunning never solves any deep problems but one might tryRunning may ‘cause’ a few problems as you will see for yourself in Lionel Shriver’s psychologicalfitness craze novelButReaders might enjoy the absurdity rejoice in the burn and be entertainedReaders might enjoy the writing and compelling craze of fitness nuttiness OrYou maybe not Lionel Shriver FEMALE author has written other thought provoking novelsmost known for “We Need to Talk About Kevin” excellent I’m a fan of “So Much For That”my personal favorite I liked this book too brought back memories to laugh about today I was able to relate with it from my past history as a once dedicated runner for over 25 years PersonallyI could probably always be up to read ‘something’ by Lionel I like her

  3. says:

    I’ve got to be honest I wasn’t sure at first that I was going to like this book as Remington and Serenata nee Terpsichore Alabaster’s conversations at breakfast are not the ‘please pass the marmalade dear’ variety Oh no Much erudite intellectual and maybe a bit competitive However intrigue set in and I found myself totally immersed and invested in their story The couple are Baby Boomers and clinging to lost youth as best they can They are not alone Serenata has been a runner for many years but regrettably has to give it up when her knees gave out She continues to exercise as best she can with a punishing routine that includes burpees and sit ups and so on Serenata is a bit of a trail blazer though there’s no artifice to this she just likes to do what no one else is as she refuses to follow a crowd When Remington an early retiree and a non runner decides that he wants to do a marathon he becomes a slavish convert to the detriment of his marriage and his body When he meets Bambi Buffer a trainer he ups the ante and decided to take on a MettleMan Iron Man in the UK Triathlon which he clings to as if it is his ‘get out of jail free’ anti aging life raft This brilliantly incisive look at the almost evangelical exercise to excess and personal denial ‘religion’ and it’s detriment effects on body soul and relationships is very acutely observed The characters are really good and I especially like the portrayal of Remington and Serenata and their marriage which almost implodes under the pressure of Serenata’s resistance and Remington’s obsessiveness Yes she’s jealous and disdainful of his new found love of mass exercise and her loathing of Bambi is palpable She’s very easy to loathe ‘The Cult of Bambi’ followers are slavish and do not see that she is vile opinionated blinkered unfeeling and downright wrong in what she preaches I’m very pleased to say that eventually cue Cyndi Lauper that we ‘see your true colours shining through’ and Bambi is shown as a fraud My greatest admiration is for Serenata who ploughs her own furrow and is an individual Remington’ father Griffin is a lovely character too and to my surprise given the low bar build up from his parents I rather likes their wrong side of the tracks son Deacon but their self righteous daughter Valeria frankly needs a slap I really like the way the obsession with pushing yourself beyond reasonable limits is portrayed and it makes you think The author makes thought provoking comments about the ‘Redemption’ Generation who forswear everything that is well nice and makes life joyous Serenata uestions if it is all worth it and whether we should just embrace age and so on and just be happy Make your own mind up I think I’ll stick to Zumba followed by cake One cancels out the other right? Overall this book makes you think It’s very well written it’s a clever portrayal of aging and coming to terms with it Note to self avoid a knee replacement at all costs Poor Serenata Many thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins Harper Fiction for this outstanding arc

  4. says:

    Sitting on the couch reading a slaying satire about exercise fanatics should be as satisfying as a chocolate chip cookie but Lionel Shriver’s new novel is exhausting I’ve never felt so worn out by the labor of wincing“The Motion of the Body Through Space” tells the story of Serenata and Remington a long married couple in their early 60s living in Hudson NY A grim coincidence of professional and physical setbacks has recently halted the pleasant progress of their lives Osteoarthritis in both knees has forced Serenata to stop running a habit she had practiced for decades And Remington has been forced out of his job at the Albany Department of Transportation a dismissal that has unmanned himAt a moment when they should be stewing together in stationary solidarity Remington suddenly announces “I’ve decided to run a marathon” That declaration opens the novel and launches Serenata and Remington toward a crisis that will test their marriage and even threaten their lives Having never seen her husband “run from here to the living room” Serenata is dumbfounded by his new obsession But her skepticism uickly curdles into bitterness She takes it as a personal affront that Remington has decided to start running only now that she must stop She imagines that running is her thing a proprietary discipline begun and perfected by her long before the rest of America turned it into a fadIndeed the fitness industry is a fat target for satire And Shriver brings all her ferocious wit to bear to mock its hucksters and disciples Readers who have endured condescending pity from well toned gods and goddesses will initially relish Shriver’s merciless To read the rest of this review go to The Washington Posthttpswwwwashingtonpostcomentert

  5. says:

    But you seem to imply that concentrating on going from one place to another is empty in some way If that’s the case then life is empty Life comes down to nothing than the motion of the body through space”Lionel Shriver captures the zeitgeist in her usual immaculate prose style with her unerringly acute social commentary “Have you noticed in these arts programs” Remington noted in midsummer as they were tidying the lunch dishes with NPR in the background “how often you hear ‘You wouldn’t be able to say that now’? And they’re usually talking about a film or a stand up routine that’s only three or four years old You wouldn’t be able to say that now Soon you won’t even be able to say what it is that you’re not allowed to say We’ll become convinced that to express anything at all is extremely risky and the species will go muteThe targets for her scathing indictment are ripe for satire – but only a brave novelist like Shriver would dare to tackle them in this age of ‘wokeness’ and ultra sensitivity to offence – intended or not She zones in on all the various sacred cows of contemporary culture – such as PC groupthink ‘cultural misappropriation’ identity politics self righteous virtue signalling victimhood culture – and the main target of this novel – the obsession with the cult of exerciseAlong with the satire Shriver's talent for observational comedy is displayed in the exchange of teasing repartee between the husband and wife the sort of sniping and bickering that a couple can only get away with in a secure relationship but which can be disastrous if the underlying fondness isn't there – and which is soon put to the test as obsession turns into full blown OCD Wonderfully entertainingMany thanks to the publisher for the ARC via Netgalley

  6. says:

    As promised here's my full review to update the place holder This whole triathlon debacle had mangled their marriage at the very point in their lives when they most needed to rely on each other For me this is the best thing Shriver has written since Big Brother It may not have the urgency of Kevin say but it's a scathing indictment of our cultural obsession with even fetishisation of diet health and extreme fitness 'fitness fundamentalism' haha epitomised here by 65 year old Remington deciding to do first a marathon and then a triathlon At the same time it's also a portrait of a strong marriage in crisis and Shriver weaves the two strands together with seamless mastery Serenata is one of Shriver's complex women who is wonderfully sharp and individual but also increasingly vulnerable both physically and emotionally What Shriver manages so well is to keep this engaging as a novel and avoid the trap of simply writing polemic or diatribe Alight with a dark humour dropping in social commentary on everything from PC ness to aging to religion and sport becomes a religion in the book this is hugely enjoyable sly intelligent belligerent in places and boldMany thanks to HarperCollinsBorough Press for an ARC via NetGalley

  7. says:

    Two and a Half StarsGenre Literary FictionSatirePublisher HarperCollins Pub Date April 20 2020I have enjoyed Lionel Shriver's previous books but this one disappointed me “The Motion of the Body Through Space” is an okay read if you remember that you are reading a satire regarding the many Americans who take physical fitness to extremes and how easy it is to fall into mass conformity It can get truly tiring to read an entire novel with a one message theme pounded into your head nonstop If you are not in on the joke the novel will drag on and on And even if you are the story still can get on your nervesThe tale revolves around a happily married couple who are in their early 60s living in Hudson NY Due to profession and physical bad luck their senior years are not going as smoothly as their earlier years The husband is fired from his job His self esteem goes out the window He decides to run a marathon although he has never had any interest in any physical activities before That was always his wife’s gig until recently when her knees gave out However she did her running by herself not part of a spectator’s sport He makes his announcement to his wife “In a second rate sitcom she’d have spewed coffee across her breakfast” Adding tension into the marriage after the marathon he announces a new goal a triathlon under the guidance of an extremely toned pretty personal female trainer The author’s fictional MettleMan triathlon is her tongue in cheek way of not even bothering to hide the comparison to the real life Metalman triathlon The novel is good at establishing the us versus them mentality Wife to husband “You do realize that organized sport is an industry?” Husband to wife “Soft drinks are an industry We still buy soda water” The trainer puts in her two cents “anyone who says a discouraging word about MettleMan you're just gutless indolent and weak” Suddenly the wife is out of the window along with her husband’s job She wearily cries “MettleMan isn’t just an exercise regime it’s a cultThe man I fell in love with has been kidnapped” The argument made throughout the book suggests that extreme sports might be a form of mental sickness Once at the multisport event race—that could do permanent physical damage to most of us— the founder of MetalMan gives a speech that leans Nazi than motivational The wife thinks “Leni Riefenstahl where are you?” Although the book can be funny the punchline wears thin The story had the makings of a good romp regarding our weight fitness obsessed culture but the satire falls short In “Motion” Shriver also attempts to take on parent child issues racial tensions and politics but they are hard to find due to the nonstop fixation on physical fitness I do give her points for daring to write a novel with no likable characters It is interesting getting into the psyche of those who train for marathons Still you might want to run as fast as you can away from this novel Find all my book reviews at

  8. says:

    Fuck it I'll give her 5Shriver is consistently one of if not my favourite author There were sentences in this that she seemed to have downloaded from my own brain Including one of my favourite rules that I thought I alone had come up with The surest way to win someone else's game is not to play it at allI just love itIt's about the American fitness craze but really anything to which we devote ourselves religion drugs whatever isn't it all the same? Rich with personal meaning but arbitrary to everyone else? Potentially harmful objectively pointless? I mean we're all gonna die anyway and even the most famous among us will pass out of history eventually when the sun explodes and erases all history And when it comes to exercise exceptionalism does it really make a difference if you run 26 miles all at once or over two weeks? It's been done anyway Then there's the super ultra extreme marathons and endurance tests and those have also all been done anyway Okay so you want to prove to yourself that you can run a marathon? Go on then but calm the fuck down and don't act so smug as if it really means anythingI fucking love that someone dedicated two years of their life to deliver this Leo esue message There's also frustration at wokeness which I also share maybe don't publish me BECAUSE I'm gay? but that doesn't land uite as effectively It's like an ill timed bit from a Republican comedianI can't imagine that the core message of this book is terribly popular I imagine that most people even readers a small subset of whom look to be challenged with uncomfortable but essentially indisputable ideas but a greater number of whom made The Alchemist a bestseller wouldn't want to hear what this book has to say But as Shriver puts it it's funny how even groups you don't want to be a part of can make you feel excluded And when huge swathes of people unuestionably centre themselves around various activities that make no sense to you you can become convinced that there's something wrong with you So this book is the kind of thing that keeps people like me saneBut what am I supposed to do in the intervening two years it takes Shriver to write her next book?

  9. says:

    45★sThe Motion of a Body Through Space is the fourteenth novel by prize winning American born journalist and author Lionel Shriver A recently jobless empty nester Remington Alabaster fixes on running a marathon to fill his days with purpose just as his wife Serenata’s arthritic knees terminate her lifelong exercise habit of running Already thus under strain the marriage begins to show signs of cracking as Remy takes up with an exercise guru Serenata is somewhat baffled by the trend “lately you only get credit for running yourself ragged to the point of collapse if by doing so you accomplish absolutely nothing” she tells her father in law “’Exhaustion has become an industry’ she said back from the kitchen ‘Just think These days you could allow people to carry all that lumber you lugged around and hoist your steel beams for you and you could charge them for the privilege Just don’t call it a “building site” but a “sports center” Oh and we’d have to come up with a snappy name so instead of Pilates or CrossFit you could call your regimen Erection’”From here Shriver throws a few challenges into the mix expensive exercise euipment and membership on a single income incidents pointing to the dangers inherent in such activity a recalcitrant right knee needing urgent surgery; then stirs them up with criticism and encouragement from an evangelical daughter and the return of a delinuent sonSerenata describes Remy’s transformation as akin to a religious conversion and the marathon training program he has joined like a cult “The church of exercise delivered clarity That is it laid out an unambiguous set of virtues – exertion exhaustion the neglect of pain the defiance of perceived limits any distance that was longer than the one before any speed that was swifter – which cleared up all confusion about what ualified as productive use of your day Likewise it defined evil sloth” And she begins to despair the damage it is doing to the man she married and the marriage itselfShriver has her often snarky protagonist hold forth on many topics she takes a little dig at “me too” and articulates insightfully on political correctness gone crazy religion and church anger racism mimicry cultural appropriation in audio books and of course ageing where one might experience “the bliss of sublime indifference” This novel is a bit of a slow burn but the reader’s patience is rewarded with dialogue that is intelligent and often darkly funny and when the black sheep of the family joins in often hilarious If sometimes a little lengthy Shriver’s prose is clever and thought provoking This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by NetGalley and Harper Collins Australia

  10. says:

    Lionel Shriver's new novel The Motion of the Body Through Space focuses like a number of her previous books on a marriage that has come under sudden tension Serenata has had to give up her decades long habit of running due to knee problems at the same time as her newly retired husband Remington announces his ambition to train for a marathon Serenata takes the news with bad grace; Remington can soon talk about nothing but exercise schedules and euipment especially when he falls under the spell of an attractive female personal trainer Shriver deals with this familiar material with characteristic insight and wit not allowing any of her characters including Serenata to settle into feeling too comfortable about themselves She's especially good on ageing; older people often get short shrift in fiction confined to cozy stereotypes so Shriver's no holds barred portrayal of the vicissitudes of living in an ageing body is refreshing Therefore it's tiresome to see that like The Mandibles although to a lesser extent this novel is once again marred by Shriver's increasing paranoia about 'social justice warriors' Shriver seems to revel in causing controversy and believing that she's saying things about political correctness that nobody else dares to say so I'm sorry to break it to her this novel doesn't do that at all Instead it rehashes the boring racist takes of any number of privileged white people A set piece where Remington is dismissed from his job because he doesn't get on with his black female superior whom Shriver portrays as a totally useless 'diversity hire' is especially cringeworthy Part of being a good novelist is understanding what is genuinely novel and necessary about what you're saying and also how far it serves your plot All of the material about 'woke' takes on race and gender in this novel could be removed without affecting the story Shriver is actually telling in the slightest I've always admired the fact that Shriver is happy to challenge her own strongly held beliefs in her novels here she allows herself to admit that doing crazy exercise challenges can be lifechanging for some people but it's notable that this discipline is entirely lacking when she starts talking about what she calls 'diversity' Indeed her ignorance is clear Her recent short story collection Property managed to steer clear of this topic and was the effective for it; I'd suggest you read that insteadI received a free copy of this novel from the publisher for review