Strange Bodies by Marcel Theroux is a literary thriller featuring a psychiatric hospital, forgery, and an international conspiracy (available February 4, 2014).
I had to sit here a long while after finishing Marcel Theroux’s Strange Bodies. Why? Because I was literally stunned by the novel I’d just finished. To use a very trite phrase, I could not put it down.
I want to start with the story first and then finish up with the writing itself. This is sort of like eating your peas and carrots, and saving the steak for last. Strange Bodies is the story of Nicholas Patrick Slopen, a man of letters, a man asked to verify the authenticity of some letters by an eighteenth century lexicographer, Dr. Samuel Johnson.
And that is where we begin.
Except I have to mention one thing here, and this is not a spoiler as it is claimed by Slopen himself in the very opening pages: Slopen is dead, but his consciousness has survived his bodily death. What unfolds after this reveal is a complex web-work of story as we are thrust into one of the truest noir books I’ve read in a very long time. Noir, at its core, is about an ordinary man thrust into extraordinary and dark circumstances. And that’s exactly what happens to Slopen. Strange Bodies begins with verifying the authenticity of some papers, and it ends with… well, I guess I cannot tell you that, can I?