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The Fact of a Body

Published by USC Bedrosian Center on

The Fact of a Body by *Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich is a true crime memoir. After encountering the child murderer Ricky Langley, Alexandria’s desire to work as a lawyer to fight against the death penalty is up-ended. They spend several years investigating Ricky’s story as a way to confront the story of their own child abuse. This is a deeply moving book, and a relatively easy read given the morose topic – a testament to the author’s skill.

Our conversation ranges from the effects of trauma on individuals and communities to the genre itself. If you haven’t read it yet, beware that we assume you’ve read it, spoiler alert!

Featuring Jeffery A. Jenkins (@jaj7d), Lisa Schweitzer (@drschweitzer), Brettany K. Shannon (@brettanyshannon), and Deborah Winters

Special thanks to Flatiron Books for sending us review copies!

*Please note that since recording in 2017, the author has designated a preferred pronoun of they/them/theirs; they are misgendered in the recording.

Links & further reading:

My Dark Places by James Ellroy
Intergenerational trauma
Beowulf (unknown author, translated by Seamus Heaney)
Rashomon effect
Clive Stafford Smith
Excellent Cadavers: The Mafia and the Death of the First Italian Republic by Alexander Stille
Ann Rule
Johnnie Cochran
OJ Trial



Next Month …

Historian Kelly Lytle Hernández brings us the lengthy story of how authorities in Los Angeles have used imprisonment as a tool to control both labor and migration. She takes the reader from the Spanish colonial era of the late 18th century through the Watts Rebellion in 1965. “This book recounts how the dynamics of conquest met deep reservoirs of rebellion as Los Angeles became the City of Inmates, the nation’s carceral core.”
Thanks to the University of North Carolina Press for sharing copies with our readers.



Read along with us! Let us know what you think of the book or the podcasts at Facebook or Twitter.

This podcast was produced by Aubrey Hicks and Jonathan Schwartz, recorded and mixed by Corey Hedden.

@AubreyHi @jonHLYP @coreyhedden

Bedrosian Center