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THE SECOND BODY

2017, non fiction, journalism/essays


128 pages (32000 words)
Daisy Hildyard

On a small scale, our body is delimited by


our own skin. On a larger scale, boundaries
are dissolved and our bodies constantly
make an impact on the world.
Every living thing has two bodies. To be an animal is to be in possession of a
physical body, a body which can eat, drink and sleep; it is also to be embedded in
a worldwide network of ecosystems. When every human body has an uncanny
global presence, how do we live with ourselves? In this timely and elegant essay,
Daisy Hildyard captures the second body by exploring how the human is a part
of animal life. She meets Richard, a butcher in Yorkshire, and sees pigs turned
into boiled ham; and Gina, an environmental criminologist, who tells her about
ORIGINAL LANGUAGE leopards and silver foxes kept as pets in luxury apartments. She speaks to Luis, a
English, Fitzcarraldo Editions biologist, about the origins of life; and talks to Nadezhda about fungi in an effort
to understand how we define animal life. Eventually, her second body comes to
AVAILABLE MATERIAL visit her first body when the river flooded her home last year. THE SECOND
English pdf BODY is a brilliantly lucid account of the dissolving boundaries between all life on
earth. A subtle but timely essay in an irresistibly narrative style.

REVIEWS
»Daisy Hildyard has turned her curious, sifting, brilliantly original mind onto the
pressing ecological questions of our age. The result is a series of essays as
captivating as they are delightful, their object no less than to quietly rewire our
thinking.«
Sarah Howe, author of 'Loop of Jade'

»In THE SECOND BODY, Daisy Hildyard gives a body to an idea in a series of
curious encounters that take us from the floor of a butcher shop to the
computer room of a biologist to the wreckage of a flooded home. Heady and
visceral both, this essay revels in the mess and splendour of the world.«
Eula Biss, author of 'On Immunity'

»THE SECOND BODY reads like an extra-lengthy New Yorker article, invoking a
similar journalistic rhythm that favors one unbroken reading ... the reward for
staying with it in a single sitting allows for the true beauty of Hildyard's project to
unfurl like a planet-sized nickelodeon, one that can be appreciated on many
levels.«
Michael Barron, Culture Trip

»These are fretful, questioning essays with occasional flashes of beauty,


demanding of readers that they think about anthropogenic disruption of climate
and ecology.«
Gavin Francis, Guardian

THIS BOOK TRAVELS | Kathrin Scheel | +49 . 163. 7292 168 | ks@thisbooktravels.com | thisbooktravels.com
»Hildyard takes us on a white-knuckle philosophical ride through identity, agency,
ecology and molecular biology, leaving us vitally disconcerted, but with a strange
new sense of community and solidarity. A curious, oblique, important, and
fascinating book.«
Charles Foster, author of 'Being a Beast'

»This playful and original essay touches on the limits of our ability to imagine that
experience. Hildyard, a novelist who was trained as a historian of science, tries to
find the ways we intuit boundaries between our bodies and our ecosystems,
between ourselves and other animals.«
Times Literary Supplement

»I'm thankful for THE SECOND BODY by Daisy Hildyard, a moving, book-length
essay that examines the different ways in which human and animal bodies are
linked, both at a physical and visceral level and at the most difficult-to-picture
planetary level. Hildyard's writing stretches the mind, pushes you to not just
acknowledge but feel the connection between a piece of meat at the butcher's
shop and the flight path of a pigeon.«
Alexandra Kleeman, Buzzfeed

»In its insistence on the illusion of individuality and on the participation of human
animals in the whole of earthly life, THE SECOND BODY might be an ancient text;
in its scientific literacy and its mood of ecological disquiet, Daisy Hildyard's book
is as contemporary as the morning paper. If ecstasy means to go outside
oneself, the word usually carries connotations of chaos and inarticulacy. Here,
however, is a precise and eloquent ecstasy - and this slender book about who we
are beyond our own skins is likewise much larger than itself.«
Benjamin Kunkel, author of 'Utopia or Bust'

»Part amateur detective, part visionary, Hildyard's voice is so intelligent, beguiling


and important. Like Sir Thomas Browne or even Annie Dillard, her sly variety of
scientific inquiry is incandescent.«
Rivka Galchen, author of 'Little Labors'

© Barney Jones

DAISY HILDYARD
Daisy Hildyard holds a PhD in the history of science, and has previously published
essays on the language of science, and on seventeenth-century mathematics. Her first
novel HUNTERS IN THE SNOW received the Somerset Maugham Award and a '5 under
35' honorarium at the USA National Book Awards. She lives with her family in North
Yorkshire, where she was born.

THIS BOOK TRAVELS | Kathrin Scheel | +49 . 163. 7292 168 | ks@thisbooktravels.com | thisbooktravels.com