Body Tourists

The gripping, thought-provoking new novel from the Booker-longlisted author of The Testament of Jessie Lamb

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Pub Date 14 Nov 2019 | Archive Date 14 Nov 2019

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Her observation of our species is tender, precise, illuminating - Hilary Mantel

In this version of London, there is a small, private clinic. Behind its layers of security, procedures are taking place on poor, robust teenagers from northern Estates in exchange for thousands of pounds - procedures that will bring the wealthy dead back to life in these young supple bodies for fourteen days.

It's an opportunity for wrongs to be righted, for fathers to meet grandsons, for scientists to see their work completed. Old wine in new bottles.

But at what cost?

Her observation of our species is tender, precise, illuminating - Hilary Mantel

In this version of London, there is a small, private clinic. Behind its layers of security, procedures are taking place...

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EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9781529392951
PRICE £16.99 (GBP)

Average rating from 64 members

Featured Reviews

What a belter of a read! An interesting concept “body tourists”. What an unsettling thought that this could actually happen. Very well written, slightly jumbled in places but all in all a very enjoyable, unputdownable read.

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‘Body Tourists’ may initially appear too preposterous a concept to enable the reader to ‘suspend disbelief’ but, because Jane Rogers always writes so thoughtfully and pertinently about human nature, it quickly becomes easy to accept the idea of a world in which the young and healthy poor are exploited by the wealthy who want just a little more time with their rich dead friends. They buy a youthful body for two weeks into which is planted their dead love-one’s frozen cells. Hey presto, the host’s brain is taken over by this impostor.
Rogers allows us to appreciate the vulnerabilities of both the exploiters and the exploited and she also shows us just how dangerous it is to play God – the great come-back in a newer, lovelier body sounds exciting but peak physical health can make an old man or woman behave as they never have before. It gives them confidence to overstep old boundaries and, in doing so, hurt those they’ve loved. Nonetheless, Rogers also suggests that being able to apologise face-to-face (albeit to a different face!) for mistakes made can have a healing, cathartic effect. But one positive example is not enough to make up for the chaos caused by most of the tourism. Don’t tamper with Nature; don’t play God; don’t abuse the weak and the needy are all lessons to be learnt in ‘Body Tourists’ but Rogers is not an overtly didactic writer. These important truths are often explored in amusing as well as chilling ways.
Perhaps the most powerful aspect of this story is the realisation that we are teetering on the brink of this dystopia. The neediest in society do live in ‘sink’ estates; gaming addicts do exist; people do live off processed food and we are told that, ‘Hardly any people walk, did you know that? I mean, there are joggers and cyclists, and at rush hour humans walk to and from the trans and the Tube, but that’s all. They keep their heads down looking at their phones with their earplugs in, they side-step you neatly without even looking up. No one sees you, no one hears you, so you walk the streets like a ghost. Invisible, watching, this mass of digitally connected creatures rushing about its business.’ Sounds familiar?
This is a wise and brilliantly observed novel, made all the more memorable for its combination of present problems and future horrors. Not normally a reader of science fiction, I recommend it to anyone who is interested in what it is to be human – and that mean pretty much everyone, right?
My thanks to NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton for a copy of this novel in exchange for a fair review.

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I haven't read any Jane Rogers books before,
however on the strength of this one she definitely has a new fan.
The concept is really interesting and raises many fundamental questions about identity and being human ;
are we the same person if our mind returns to a different body?
Would we want to return to life after death for two weeks just because someone else summoned us?
Would I accept £10000 to allow someone else to use my body, and never know what they had done with it.
Would it be my fault if the guest committed a crime in my body?
Do we have souls?
And many others which I think I will continue to reflect on for a long time to come.
Well framed in a page turning narrative - a book to be recommended
Thank you to netgalley and Hodder and Stoughton for an advance copy of this book.

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I enjoyed this book. The central idea - that the poor should sell their bodies as commodities to the rich - is while not original, certainly very engagingly entered into here. In some ways this felt that a sequal to a previous novel that I would have liked to have read first -I thought the first three quarters of the book was excellent. By the end it seemed to me that perhaps the manuscript had been rather too brutally edited or that by the end that the author had created perhaps too many storylines for her to entirely resolve. I would have preferred to understand more about one or two of the characters.

That said I would not hesitate to recommend Body Tourists to any reader.

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