Cover Design by Ruth Sheradski
The Body is a study of jealousy. From the moment when Henry Bishop, a middle-aged hairdresser, who for years has lived contentedly with his wife, sees a stranger gazing up at her bathroom window, he is obsessed by a belief that she is unfaithful to him.
Feeding on a few slightly clues - an entry in a diary, a whiff of tobacco in an empty room - this obsession finally blazes up into the very ecstasy of hate. Meanwhile, as he seeks proof of his suspicions, Henry becomes a stranger both to his friends and to himself, but the most disquieting discovery he makes is that he is in love with this demon of jealous.
The Body has excitement, humour rich observation, and an almost frightening truth-to-nature. Its theme is admirably suited to Mr Sansom's talent for revealing the normal world as it appears in the distorting mirror of a mind under abnormal stress.
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He has burst out into a full length novelist of the top class. His observation, wit and use of words are fresh, beautiful and exciting.
As entertaining a piece of story telling as we have been given for a long time. It is funny!
A most unusual as well as eminently readable book. I can confidently recommend this novel to all who, besides liking to read an excellent novel, will enjoy the work of a writer able to give us the very feeling, the sight and sound and sense of what he describes.
Sir Osbert Sitwell
The Body—a superb book, perhaps his best…. Sansom's ear, matching his eye, renders the idiom and rhythms of post-war lower-middle-class English with a terrible exactness….
That talented and delightful writer, Mr William Sansom, has given us in The Body the most sustained, powerful and ambitious work that he has so far attempted. It proves to be a most unusual and eminently readable book. I can confidently recommend this novel to all.
Sir Osbert Sitwell
A Baedeker of the English suburban mind...and of that jealousy which attacks the man who has just opened the door called Middle-Age.
The brilliance and insight of Sansom's short stories are rickly extended throughout his first novel. The Body is a fine study of delusional jealousy, taut with anxiety and chagrin, and done in a lively, flesh-coloured style that makes his characters fairly glisten with life.
The whole book is written at a high pitch of sensibility...it firmly establishes its author as an individual and impressive novelist.
Beautifully written and most skilfully developed...extraordinary insight into the intricate processes of jealousy and suspicion.
Robert M Coates