Body Friend by Katherine Brabon

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About

Late in the summer five years ago, when I was recovering from a surgical procedure, I met two women within a few weeks of each other and I saw both of them regularly, always separately, for some months afterwards. Summer did not give way easily that year, and even so we must force our bodies down to sleep in the heat, and even if experience does not give itself up easily to representation, I will lay it down anyway; frame the raw and exigent weeks, the untrustworthy months after the hospital, render it and them, Frida and Sylvia, as closely as possible to reality—or whatever is the feeling of a life and mind lived inside a body.

A woman leaves the hospital after an operation and starts swimming in a pool in Melbourne’s inner suburbs. There she meets Frida, who is uncannily like her in her experience of illness. Soon after, she meets another woman in a local park, Sylvia, who sees her pain and encourages her to rest.

The two new friends seem to be polar opposites: Frida adores the pool and the natural world, Sylvia clings to the protection of interior worlds. What begins as two seemingly simple friendships is challenged by what each woman asks of her, of themselves, and their bodies.

From the acclaimed author of The Memory Artist and The Shut Ins comes a new novel about the relationship between body and self, and how we must dive beneath the surface to really know ourselves.