In the Body of the World

A Memoir of Cancer and Connection

Eve Ensler

Metropolitan Books

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From the bestselling author of The Vagina Monologues and one of Newsweek’s 150 Women Who Changed the World, a visionary memoir of separation and connection—to the body, the self, and the world

Playwright, author, and activist Eve Ensler has devoted her life to the female body—how to talk about it, how to protect and value it. Yet she spent much of her life disassociated from her own body—a disconnection brought on by her father’s sexual abuse and her mother’s remoteness. “Because I did not, could not inhabit my body or the Earth,” she writes, “I could not feel or know their pain.”

But Ensler is shocked out of her distance. While working in the Congo, she is shattered to encounter the horrific rape and violence inflicted on the women there. Soon after, she is diagnosed with uterine cancer, and through months of harrowing treatment, she is forced to become first and foremost a body—pricked, punctured, cut, scanned. It is then that all distance is erased. As she connects her own illness to the devastation of the earth, her life force to the resilience of humanity, she is finally, fully—and gratefully—joined to the body of the world.

Unflinching, generous, and inspiring, Ensler calls on us all to embody our connection to and responsibility for the world.

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Book Excerpts

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Divided

A mother’s body against a child’s body makes a place. It says you are here. Without this body against your body there is no place. I envy people who miss their mother. Or miss a place or know something called home. The absence of a body against my body created a gap, a hole, a hunger. This hunger determined my life.

I have been exiled from my body. I was ejected at a very young age and I got lost. I did not have a baby. I have been afraid of trees. I have felt the Earth as my enemy. I did not live in the forests.

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In the Body of the World

Eve Ensler introduces her memoir In the Body of the World.

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Watch Playwright-activist Eve Ensler on PBS. See more from Tavis Smiley.

Eve Ensler interview with Tavis Smiley

Eve Ensler discusses her memoir 'In the Body of the World' with Tavis Smiley

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Eve Ensler on Q with Jian Ghomeshi

Eve Ensler discusses 'In the Body of the World: A Memoir' on Q with Jian Ghomeshi.

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Eve Ensler on Joy Behar's Say Anything!

Eve Ensler discusses her memoir 'In the Body of the World' on Joy Behar's Say Anything!

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Eve Ensler on The Today Show

Eve Ensler discusses In the Body of the World with Maria Shriver on The Today Show.

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Eve Ensler Reads from memoir, 'In the Body of the World'

Eve Ensler Reads from memoir, 'In the Body of the World'

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Eve Ensler on The Brian Lehrer Show

Eve Ensler discusses her memoir 'In the Body of the World' on the Brian Lehrer Show.

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Eve Ensler on writing In The Body of the World

Eve Ensler on writing her memoir In The Body of the World.

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Reviews

Praise for In the Body of the World

"Astonishing"
Mary Oliver

"A masterpiece. Ensler has accomplished the impossible: weaving together huge, bold, world-changing ideas with beautiful writing, amazing metaphors, and original structure. Truly one of the most courageous and original works of our time."
Naomi Klein

"This book is a ride, a river ride through rapids and depths and shallows, dried-up eddies, whirlpools and torrents, crystal-clear pools and the vast ocean at the end.  What a thrill and what a spear through the heart.  I am astounded by the honesty and clarity of each word."
Elizabeth Lesser

"Ensler has written a profound and vulnerable book, full of tenderness and strength. I was amazed by the clarity of her vision and the power of her message about the body and self. This book isn’t meant only for patients; it is meant for anyone whose life has intersected with illness—in short, for all of us."
—Siddhartha Mukherjee

"I dare anyone to read In the Body of the World without crying, without crying out, without getting up and rising to this beautiful broken world with awe and gratitude. There is no pity here, only the raw force of courage in the face of fear and violence, and the healing grace of honesty."
Terry Tempest Williams

"Eve Ensler incarnates the pain of the women in the Congo, victims of rape and torture; and of the Earth, victim of so much desecration. Her heart and body are broken, her anger is like fire, and the passion of her writing rattles your soul. This is true literature and true activism."
—Isabel Allende

"Eve Ensler’s memoir is not only wild and raw and incredibly important, it’s also that rarest of achievements—a compulsively readable, stunningly rendered work of art that delivers hope and truth, challenge and solace, sometimes simultaneously."
—Alexandra Fuller

"An intense, riveting memoir . . . not an easy book to read, but a necessary book to read for its fierce, passionate commitment to making the world a safe place for women."
—The Boston Globe

"An intriguing meditation on illness and the power of stories, itself artfully wrapped around the thirteen-year-old conflict of one countrythe Democratic Republic of Congoand her persecuted women."
—KQED

"A truly remarkable book. Each chapter is a dense, beautifully realized thing: some are confessional, some half-comical, some poetry, but all intensely felt and powerfully written."
—Bust Magazine

"Moving . . . What Anne Lamott's Operating Instructions did for anxious new mothers, Ensler's memoir does for women who are fighting cancer or may fight it one day."
—Entertainment Weekly

"Ensler is passionate. And her new book conveys every ounce of that passion."
—Detroit Free Press

"If there is one woman who can write with passion and without reservations about the brutal emotional and physical pain of living through uterine cancer — agonizing surgeries, organ removal, chemotherapy and other invasive procedures, it is Ensler."
—Minneapolis Star-Tribune

"Stunning."
—Chicago Tribune

"Powerful and satisfying . . . Ensler writes with verve and urgency about dealing with disease, facing her demons and repairing relationships."
—More

"A riveting story of survival."
—Publishers Weekly

"Fierce, frank, raw and profoundly moving."
—Kirkus Reviews


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About the Author

Eve Ensler

Eve Ensler is an internationally bestselling author and an award-winning playwright whose works include The Vagina Monologues, The Good Body, Insecure at Last, and I Am an Emotional Creature, since adapted for the stage as Emotional Creature. She is the founder of V-Day, the global movement to end violence against women and girls, which has raised more than $90 million for local groups and activists, and inspired the global action One Billion Rising. Ensler lives in Paris and New York City.

Eve Ensler

Brigitte Lacombe
Eve Ensler

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Buy the Book

Available Formats and Book Details

In the Body of the World
A Memoir of Cancer and Connection
Eve Ensler

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
Henry Holt and Co.
Metropolitan Books
April 2013
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9780805095241
ISBN10: 0805095241
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 208 pages
$9.99

Unabridged Compact Disc

Unabridged  Compact Disc
Macmillan Audio
April 2013
Unabridged Compact Disc
ISBN: 9781427231697
ISBN10: 1427231699
Audio Run Time: 5:00
$24.99

Unabridged Digital Audio

Unabridged  Digital Audio
Macmillan Audio
April 2013
Unabridged Digital Audio
ISBN: 9781427231703
ISBN10: 1427231702
Audio Run Time: 4:30
$12.99

Hardcover

Hardcover
Henry Holt and Co.
Metropolitan Books
April 2013
Hardcover
ISBN: 9780805095180
ISBN10: 0805095187
5 1/8 x 7 13/16 inches, 240 pages
$25.00

Trade Paperback

Trade Paperback
Picador
February 2014
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9781250043979
ISBN10: 1250043972
5 1/8 x 7 13/16 inches, 240 pages
$15.00
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