A fascinating debut about a gifted artist with cerebral palsy and his young carer, Janet, who is struggling to find her way in the world.
'A bold, unflinching debut' GUARDIAN
'Brutal, tender, philosophical, visceral, complex and so well written' EMMA JANE UNSWORTH
Maintaining one person's dignity comes nearly always at the expense of someone else's. I have learned this for you.
Janet is caught between care work and caring for herself. Her life revolves around Sean, a talented fine art student, living and working with cerebral palsy. Both Janet and Sean are new to London and far from their families. Both are finding a means of escape through pushing their bodies to the limit.
When Sean is faced with an unexpected and deeply personal tragedy, Janet must let her guard down at last and discover what she's prepared to fight for.
THE ART OF THE BODY is a novel about dignity and intimacy, tenderness and brutality, unafraid to explore uncommon bodies in unusual ways.
'Raw and powerful' IMAGE
This isn't an easy read, but it is raw and powerful . . . An uncompromising look at what it means to be 'able' in life - Image
Beyond describing in vivid detail Sean's disability, Allison uses it to pave new literary ground, making use of unusual figures of speech that allow the reader access to another way of looking at the world . . . The Art of the Body offers the reader a multi-layered exploration of the able and disabled body . . . a tale worth reading - Northern Review
[A ] bold, unflinching debut . . . Finely written and thoughtfully devised, this is also a disquieting and unsettling read about the balance of power, cruelty and compassion . . . Allison writes unobtrusively, setting up illuminating parallels and gently guiding the reader to unexpected understanding - Guardian
What a brilliant book! I tore through it. Brutal, tender, philosophical, visceral, complex and so well written. A deft exploration of two entwined lives that is deeply moving without ever being sentimental. The character of Janet is incredible. I have never encountered anyone like her, and yet she was utterly believable. This is one of those books that sneaks under your skin and expands you. Sheer brilliance
Alexander Allison was born and raised in London. He holds a BA in Art History from University of York, and an MA in Creative Writing from University of Manchester's Centre for New Writing. His work has been published by Civil Coping Mechanisms, The Red Ceilings Press, Popshot, Willow Springs, and Artifice Magazine among others. He can be found on Twitter at @alex_j_allison where he mostly posts about AFC Wimbledon and his poor luck at poker.