And Again (Hardcover)

By Jessica Chiarella

Touchstone Books, 9781501116100, 320pp.

Publication Date: January 12, 2016

January 2016 Indie Next List

“This intriguing novel explores the age-old body/soul relationship from a fresh angle by introducing us to four participants in a pilot program that gives terminally ill patients new, genetically perfect bodies. Will these four -- a beautiful actress, a womanizing congressman, a talented artist, and a beloved mother -- simply resume their lives as they were before disease or accident struck? Or will they make new starts, make different choices? Can their new bodies incorporate what they have learned in the past? A fascinating literary debut.”
— Ellen Sandmeyer (M), Sandmeyer's Bookstore, Chicago, IL
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Description

In the spirit of Station Eleven and The Age of Miracles, this exciting literary debut novel imagines the consequences when four ordinary individuals are granted a chance to continue their lives in genetically perfect versions of their former bodies.

Would you live your life differently if you were given a second chance? Hannah, David, Connie, and Linda--four terminally ill patients--have been selected for the SUBlife pilot program, which will grant them brand-new, genetically perfect bodies that are exact copies of their former selves--without a single imperfection. Blemishes, scars, freckles, and wrinkles have all disappeared, their fingerprints are different, their vision is impeccable, and most importantly, their illnesses have been cured.

But the fresh start they've been given is anything but perfect. Without their old bodies, their new physical identities have been lost. Hannah, an artistic prodigy, has to relearn how to hold a brush; David, a Congressman, grapples with his old habits; Connie, an actress whose stunning looks are restored after a protracted illness, tries to navigate an industry obsessed with physical beauty; and Linda, who spent eight years paralyzed after a car accident, now struggles to reconnect with a family that seems to have built a new life without her. As each tries to re-enter their previous lives and relationships they are faced with the question: how much of your identity rests not just in your mind, but in your heart, your body?
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