The Weight of Her Remains is a work of fiction examining trauma, connection, and our cultural obsession with dead girls. Similar in theme and voice to Alice Sebold’s seminal ‘Dead Girl’ story, The Lovely Bones, the novel explores the relationship forged between a young murder victim and the woman who finds her body, as told by the dead girl herself.
‘The body was discovered by a jogger.’
In this case, the body belongs to Alice Lee, a plucky teenager who runs away to New York City on her 18thbirthday, carrying $600 cash and a stolen Leica in her bag. The jogger is Ruby Jones, a lonely Australian trying to put distance between herself and a destructive relationship back home. From this first, devastating encounter, an enduring connection between the two women is formed, one that will eventually lead to the man who murdered Alice.
Dead girls don’t usually get to tell their story, but Alice Lee has always been a different type of girl. With a backstory that includes a mother who shot herself and an art teacher who seduced her, Alice knows she would have the perfect story to tell—if anyone knew who she was. Instead, she’s now Jane Doe, an unidentified body on a slab at City Morgue.
Ruby Jones is struggling in the aftermath of finding Alice’s body. When she encounters Death Club, a small group of misfits who meet at bars around the city to discuss death and dying, she finds a safe place to explore her increasing obsession with the girl whose body she found. Alice secretly joins Death Club too, hoping these philosophical meetings will help her understand what happened to her—and, just as vital to this young woman seemingly stuck between life and death, what happens next.
A novel about women’s stories cut short by violence, the book has its genesis in the 2014 murder of a young tourist whose body was found in the Melbourne park I used to run through each morning; a deliberate inversion of the ‘whodunit’, The Weight of Her Remains instead asks of our murdered girls—who was she? And what happens to the person who found her?
Back when the working title was What We Have Left (my drink of choice has not changed).