Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Case of the Missing Body

The Case of the Missing Body
By Jenny Powell
ISBN 978-1-877578-31-1, $29.95

  A detective story like no other, The Case of the Missing Body by Jenny Powell is one woman’s search for the barest physical presence of her body. This moving memoir details Powell’s experience of proprioceptive dysfunction – a condition neurologist Oliver Sacks described in his case study ‘The Disembodied Lady’.

‘This is Lily’s story,’ says Jenny Powell. ‘Her story is my story, but in order to write it I had to step back and examine it from a distance.’ Creating Lily enabled Powell to narrate her own experience.

Proprioception, sometimes referred to as the sixth sense, informs us of our body position in space. It is the sense that tells you your left hand is on the table beside you even when you cannot see it. ‘Lily’ has no sense of her body and has struggled with the effects of this throughout her life.

The Case of the Missing Body interrogates the very nature of self-perception by exploring the absence of a basic sense most of us take for granted. Powell reveals some unexpected challenges facing people with invisible conditions, particularly when those in the medical profession do not fully understand the condition. The frustrations and gradual triumphs will resonate profoundly with those who experience similarly hidden struggles.

In this beautifully written series of diary entries, ‘Lily’ becomes her own detective, searching for clues to help her find her own body. This multi-genre work seamlessly blends medical forms, emails and diagrams into the narrative to give an immersive account of her determination towards mastery. Jenny Powell records her crusade of self-discovery with indisputable courage, willpower and wry wit.

Bound in an original cover by Donna Demente, The Case of the Missing Body
is a powerful expression of life. 
Jenny Powell is a Dunedin creative writing teacher and poet. She has eight published volumes of poetry: Sweet Banana Wax Peppers (HeadworX, 1998), Hats (HeadworX, 2000), Double Jointed (with 10 other poets of her choice) (Inkweed, 2003), Four French Horns (HeadworX, 2004), Locating the Madonna (with Anna Jackson) (Seraph Press, 2004), Viet Nam: A poem journey (HeadworX, 2010), Ticket Home: 30 poems (Cold Hub Press, 2012) and Trouble (Cold Hub Press, 2014).


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