The Body Library
By Jeff Noon
Somewhere in the tangled state of metafiction there is a city known as Storyville. Detective John Nyquist, hero of Jeff Noon’s previous novel A Man of Shadows, arrives in Storyville on an assignment that has him being paid to trail someone. When that someone ends up dead in one of the towers of Melville Estate (located just across Calvino Road and past Rabelais Plaza), Nyquist finds himself dragged into a police investigation layered in scatterings of Nordic myth (the police being headquartered in Kafka Court, of course).
The atmosphere in The Body Library is that of inky noir, shaped less by golden age detective novels than by such later wild re-imaginings as Alex Proyas’s Dark City and Robert Zemeckis’s Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Storyville is the dream world we all enter into when we open a book: the act of reading triggering a dissociative event that splits us into fictional and non-fictional identities. 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.