Bodies of Light

Winner of the 2022 Miles Franklin Literary Award

    • 4.2 • 124 Ratings
    • $12.99
    • $12.99

Publisher Description

So by the grace of a photograph that had inexplicably gone viral, Tony had found me. Or: he’d found Maggie.

I had no way of knowing whether he was nuts or not; whether he might go to the cops. Maybe that sounds paranoid, but I don’t think it’s so ridiculous. People have gone to prison for much lesser things than accusations of child-killing.

A quiet, small-town existence. An unexpected Facebook message, jolting her back to the past. A history she’s reluctant to revisit: dark memories and unspoken trauma, warning knocks on bedroom walls, unfathomable loss.

She became a new person a long time ago. What happens when buried stories are dragged into the light?

This epic novel from the two-time Sydney Morning Herald Young Novelist of the Year is a masterwork of tragedy and heartbreak—the story of a life in full. Sublimely wrought in devastating detail, Bodies of Light confirms Jennifer Down as one of the writers defining her generation.

Jennifer Down is a writer and editor whose work has appeared in the Age, Saturday Paper, Australian Book Review and Literary Hub. She was named a Sydney Morning Herald Young Novelist of the Year consecutively in 2017 and 2018. Our Magic Hour, her debut novel, was shortlisted for the 2014 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an unpublished manuscript. Her second book, Pulse Points, was the winner of the 2018 Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction and the 2018 Steele Rudd Award for a Short Story Collection in the Queensland Literary Awards, and was shortlisted for a 2018 NSW Premier’s Literary Award. She lives in Naarm/Melbourne.

’Brutal and beautiful—I couldn’t stop reading it. Jennifer Down is a brilliant writer.’ Victoria Hannan

‘Jennifer Down is going to be a major part of the future of Australian literature. The quality of her writing, as well as her ability to tap into the loves, fears and anxieties many of us experience guarantee this.’ Readings Monthly

Fiction & Literature
28 September
The Text Publishing Company
Text Publishing

Customer Reviews

K@-th1 ,

Great read

Loved this book, although at times it was a hard read in that the content was confronting, but written with great compassion and guts. Highly recommend this book to lovers of good writing and a compelling story.

UnchartedJAM ,


Probably the worst book i’ve ever read. Dragged on to much ,random information about the character relationships with their different partners which just didn’t need to be in there .

rhitc ,

How much can a koala bear?

4.5 stars

Australian author and editor who won the 2022 Miles Franklin for this.
Maggie lost her Mum to an overdose when Maggie was too young to remember her. She remembers her Dad, who was jailed for manslaughter before she’s kindergarten age. From there, she experiences the many ups and downs of the Victorian government childcare system system, makes it to uni briefly, ends up married to a reasonably good guy, punches out three sprogs none of which make it past 12 weeks of age, gets arrested as a probable Kathleen Folbigg clone, does a runner while on bail, changes her identity, bums around NZ as Josie, hooks up with an American grad student, follows him to Detroit, gets married, goes off the rails again, bums around Washington state and becomes an addict, gets clean again, and ends up in Vermont (she’s Holly by now). She communicates by e mail with a dude in Oz she was once in foster care with and who is part of a social media group that’s been trying to track her down since she went missing while on bail.
Powerfully spare prose that jumps back and forth in time, without loss of forward momentum in the plot. No easy feat. Harrowing content, to put it mildly.

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