Under attack from within, Lia tries to keep the landscapes of her past, her present and her body separate. But time and bodies are porous, and unpredictable.
Something gleeful and malign is moving in Lia’s body. It shape-shifts down the banks of her canals, leaks through her tissue, nooks and nodes. It taps her trachea like the bones of a xylophone. It’s spreading.
Lia’s story is told, in part, by the very thing that’s killing her; a malevolent voice that wanders her systems, learning her from the inside-out. The novel moves between her past and her present as we come to understand the people that have shaped her life.
In turn, each of these take up their place in the battle raging within Lia’s body, at the centre of which dances the murderous narrator and a boy nicknamed ‘Red’ - the toxic chemo that is Lia’s last hope.
Deliriously inventive and viscerally moving, Mortimer’s debut is a patterned, protean narrative that astonishes and overwhelms. Lia is dying while she’s living, her past, present and future a glorious cacophony of voices, from the webs of words that bind her to her daughter, to the mutating cancer that is an inexorable part of her self.— The 2022 judges on Maps of our Spectacular Bodies