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The Body Library

by: Jeff Noon


SHORTLISTED for the Philip K Dick Award 2019

“It’s a heady psychedelic mix, packed with literary allusions, which brilliantly explores notions of self-identity, personal awareness and how we fit into our own stories.”
– The Guardian

Jeff Noon returns with a sequel to the acclaimed A Man of Shadows, taking his hapless investigator into a city where reality is contaminated by the imagination of its citizens.

File Under: Science Fiction [ Murder He Wrote | Festival of Words | Stranger In Fiction | Odin’s Horse ]

The Second Nyquist Mystery


In a city where words come to life and reality is infected by stories, private eye John Nyquist wakes up in a room with a dead body… The dead man’s impossible whispers plunge him into a murder investigation like no other. Clues point him deeper into an unfolding story infesting its participants as reality blurs between place and genre. Only one man can hope to put it all together, enough that lives can be saved… That man is Nyquist, and he is lost.
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The Body Library

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Jeff Noon is an award-winning British novelist, short story writer and playwright. He won the Arthur C Clarke Award for Vurt, the John W Campbell award for Best New Writer, a Tinniswood Award for innovation in radio drama and the Mobil prize for playwriting. He was trained in the visual arts, and was musically active on the punk scene before starting to write plays for the theatre. His last novel, The Body Library, was nominated for the Philip K Dick Award.

“The first book was a town with districts of perpetual day and night, and excellent. The Body Library is set in a city of stories seducing and devouring its inhabitants alive, a mystery starring fictions about the mystery that is fiction. It’s even better.”
Kieron Gillen, co-creator of The Wicked + The Divine

“It’s a heady psychedelic mix, packed with literary allusions, which brilliantly explores notions of self-identity, personal awareness and how we fit into our own stories.”
The Guardian

“Rich, inventive and recommended.”
– Sci-Fi Now

“Mysterious and creepy, The Body Library contains many mansions in its pages, asking us to consider where it is stories come from and where they go, how they are consumed and how they transform us in turn.”
The Star

“A moody, grimy, ruthlessly funny read… its sense of play and sly manipulation of reader expectations – about metafiction, weird fiction, and noir – is still quite the trip.”
Barnes & Noble Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog

“By writing a novel set in literature itself the author has created a new psychedelic meta-genre as well as a fantastic story that sticks in the mind long after the novel itself is read.”
British Fantasy Society

“There is a fluidness to Noon’s writing that initially made me think The Body Library would be like Ishiguro’s dream-like The Unconsoled. As I read further, however, I felt more like I was in the atmosphere of 1408 by Stephen King or the movie Dark City – the noir settings and slip-away realities where what’s around the corner can’t be articulated and yet … Things change and reality is different but the writing is well-structured so it’s easy to follow. The writing is as much of a treat as the setting and the story and the characters.”
Ephemeral Digest

“Yet again, Jeff Noon shows his amazing imagination and wonderful writing skill. He plays with prose and structure and yet still achieves a rare balancing act of managing to also have a strong narrative and characters… the weird but fascinating worldbuilding, and the sheer enjoyable “intoxication” of all the extraordinary ideas and images… This is a book that does not fit easily into any particular classification but should definitely be winning awards.”
Birmingham Science Fiction Group

“Lordy, this was one HELL of a trip. Not for the faint of heart. Or the impatient. But by Bradbury in heaven, I swear this is the spiritual godson of The Illustrated Man on PCP. Noon’s imagination is TOP NOTCH. I think I’ve just found my new favorite to-go guy for cutting edge and brilliant Weird fiction.”
Brad K Horner

The Body Library is a brilliant piece of writing that does a satisfying job of merging noir, magical realism, and a love of all things literary.”
SF Revu

“Noon writes in a way that is literary and complex, reaching into otherworldly ideas and sharing complex notions. All the while, it’s entertaining stuff.”
Reading and Literature Resources Blog

“Drawing from great literary works, pulp detective stories, and even Norse mythology, Noon pulls the reader into a world that is lush, confusing, and an ode to the written word.”
Algul Siento

“More captivating and interesting than the first. 4 out of 5 stars”
Sammy’s Shelf

“The story had me bouncing around from confusion, to joy, to terror.”
Lady Bibliotaph

“An ingeniously manufactured art object, directing the reader’s attention with a concatenation of smoky-eyed dreamlike imagery punctured by the Pavlovian responses of its actors – like a film noir mystery directed by Luis Buñuel and edited by Lev Kuleshov.”
The 1000 Year Plan

“Underneath the beautiful madness The Body Library is wittily observant, creepy and disconcerting, occasionally humorous, always on message even as it goes off on tangents and is a wonderfully hypnotic and completely mesmerizing story. I loved every single insane moment of it, just riveting. Completely riveting.”
Liz Loves Books

The Body Library is an addictive, immersive noir thriller.”
Ferdinand Page

Praise for A Man of Shadows

“This superb novel of light, glass and blood proves again that Jeff Noon is one of our few true visionaries.”
Warren Ellis

“A disturbing and bizarre journey by one of the great masters of weird fiction.”
Adrian Tchaikovsky, Arthur C Clarke Award-winning author of Children of Time

“Every Jeff Noon novel is a wonderful, precious thing. These are bad times, and we need him more than ever.”
Dave Hutchinson, British Science Fiction Association Award-winning author of the Europe series

“Style has always been Noon’s strongest suit, and in creating the varied cityscapes of A Man of Shadows, his talent for hallucinatory imagery has found a perfect match. This book is absolutely drenched in arresting visuals.”
Sam Reader for The B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog

“Manchester’s delirious prophet returns with scripture written in shadow and light.”
– Kieron Gillen, co-creator of The Wicked + The Divine

“Noon has written a kaleidoscopic noir novel of dizzying dream logic.”
Publishers Weekly

“[Noon’s] prose takes you to weird and scary places other novelists don’t go – a reminder why he’s so revered.”
SFX magazine

“It’s a stylish and distinctive vision of a world that remains morally grey and foggy, even when under Dayzone’s bright artificial lights. Weirdly compelling.”
The Spectator

“This is a beguiling introduction to a strange new world, and a trip worth taking.”
Sci-Fi Now magazine

“While Vurt was undeniably the in-your-face work of a brash wunderkind, A Man of Shadows is arguably even better: the product of a more mature, surer writer with less desire to awe the reader for the sheer sake of showing off his chops, and more intent on producing emotional resonances, more vivid storylines, and imparting whatever hard-earned wisdom the writer has garnered.”
Paul di Filippo, for Locus

“Clocks and watches form a recurrent motif in this artful, eerie novel that infuses the mystery genre with symbolism and soul.”
James Lovegrove, for Financial Times

“This novel—and the double city contained within it—is an immersive and addictive experience; one that, despite the tension of the narrative, the reader will miss once it’s all over.”
British Fantasy Society

“A vibrant, bizarre trip through the dark corners of the brain, ever so slightly out of the light.”
Barnes & Noble Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog

“An unpredictable read from start to finish.” 4/5 stars
Manhattan Book Review

“A fever dream of a tale about light, darkness, family, loss and time.”
Scott Whitmore, Writer

“I highly recommend this book as it’s very well done, with an interesting story, good characters, and original ideas.”
Helen’s Bookshelf

Chicago Review of Books

“Surreal, dazzling, unusual and extraordinary – A Man Of Shadows will haunt you for a long time after turning that last page.”
Liz Loves Books

“I loved the book so much its going in my must read again pile. 5/5*”
The Dreamland Bookshelf

“I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and would have recommended it just for the amazing world-building alone, however having fantastic characters and an excellent plot means that this is definitely a novel worth reading.”

“Weird and creepy and very engaging.”
Shadows of the Apt

“There’s a lot of imagination infused in the dime-store detective facade that brings complexities conceived through clever concepts and well thought-out plot devices which make A Man of Shadows a joy to read.”
Just A Guy That Likes To Read

“A Man of Shadows is a quite extraordinary novel. Its world building is absolutely fantastic – intricate, complex, moody and disturbingly real. Dayzone and Nocturna are brilliantly visualised and would have been sufficiently impressive on their own but the skill of Jeff Noon astounds even further with his treatment of time.”
For Winter Nights

“I really enjoyed this one, as well as a clever story with a great protagonist, it’s also an example of just how much Noon loves language. The descriptions, especially of the strange stuff are just a pleasure to read. If you’re a fan of China Miéville, Brian Caitling or Jeff VanderMeer this is one for you.”
Stefen’s Books

“Wonderful and uniquely absorbing.”

“Noon takes the concept of time and plays with it from every possible angle.”
Strange Alliances

“A truly original, extremely mind bending, speculative fiction/noir detective/weird book. Not for the faint of heart, A Man of Shadows will have you looking at the differences in time between different clocks in your home with growing suspicion.”
Book Skill

“Jeff Noon’s A Man of Shadows is undeniably a work of art, and an engaging one. ”
The 1000 Year Plan

“An unforgettable journey.”
Postcards From the Edge

“I thoroughly enjoyed A Man of Shadows but it is hard to recommend it without giving away that experience of discovery.”
The Forgotten Geek

Praise for Jeff Noon

Winner of the Arthur C Clarke Award 1994 for Vurt, listed in Lesher’s Best Novels of The Nineties [Vurt]
Winner of the 1995 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer

“Noon is the Lewis Carroll of Manchester’s housing estates: eccentric, surreal, and ready to take everything to its most absurd conclusion. In Noon’s stories the cocktail of alienation, narcotics and gadgetry fizzes with energy.”
The Times

“To say that Jeff Noon is a talented author is like saying that Neil Armstrong has travelled a bit.”
Starburst magazine

“Noon is a fiercely urban writer. [He] reflects the energy of the rave generation: the hammer and twist of the music, the language of the computer games addict and the buzz of technology.”
– New Statesman

“In his work, Noon ambitiously, constantly and effectively stretches the limits of language by creating completely innovative and new ways of telling stories, not just in terms of ideas but in the words themselves’
– City Life

“Noon’s blend of quirky ideas, striking prose and imaginative characterisations establishes him as one of the most original voices in imaginative fiction.”
– Booklist

“A punk Aldous Huxley stringing together images and oddities to assemble an apocalyptic dreamworld.”

“Energetic and unconventional… A counter-culture adventurer.”

“Manchester’s answer to William Gibson”
Select Magazine

“Let’s call him the first of the psychedelic fantasists.”
– Time Out

“A writer who has managed to develop a very individual voice, mixing often lyrical dream-like language with the harshness of his image of a future society.”
– The Times

“Jeff Noon’s books are so good they should come with a government warning.”
– Jockeyslut

“A virtual wonderland.”
– Vanity Fair

“Humorous, horrific and wildly original… an imaginative masterpiece.”
– Library Journal

“Observes most of the conventions of cyberpunk fiction [yet] its imagery is insistently organic, and owes more to the underground pharmacology of the rave scene than to the world of hard wired chips and user interface.”
– New Yorker

“Intriguingly textured, reliably witty and inventive, Noon’s whirling purposeful fantasy packs a full whallop.”
– Kirkus Reviews

“Fantasmogic and Pulpish.”
– Salon

“Weird as it is wonderful.”
– London Times

“No review can do Noon’s writing justice: it’s a phantasmagoric combination of the more imaginative science fiction masters, such as Phillip K. Dick, genres such as cyberpunk and pulp fiction, and drug culture.”
– Amazon

“Cyberpunk at the cutting edge.”
– Maxim

“An imaginative and linguistic tour de force… an exquisitely grimy fable.”
– The Independent

“The bizarrely logical world Noon creates with its touches of Orwellian satire and William Gibsonesque cybervision is truly original.”
– Q Magazine

“Dark, edgy and decaying.”
– GQ

“Elegant, inventive, and funny.”

“A wild hallucinatory ride through a nightmare/ dream vision of the twentieth century.”
– Locus

Needle in the Groove is where the mainstream of literature ought to be in the 21st century… seething, sexualised, chemically enhanced.”
– The Wire

Falling Out of Cars is part of Noon’s continuing revolt out of genre and into creative resistance against all traditional forms of fiction.”
– The Guardian

“There are echoes of Burroughs/Gysin’s cut-up method, surrealist automatic writing, and most prominently the Oulipo’s literature of constraint. An experimental work you can dance to.”
– Review of Contemporary Fiction

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