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Bite Your Friends: Stories of the Body Militant — Fernanda Eberstadt

Bite Your Friends: Stories of the Body Militant — Fernanda Eberstadt

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"Ravishing and provocative." — Olivia Laing

"Stunning and powerful." — André Aciman

The example of the Greek philosopher Diogenes, who lived “a dog’s life,” sleeping, teaching, having sex in the public square, sets the tone for this extraordinary, genre-bending memoir. Posing crucial questions about what drives certain individuals to risk physical suffering in the name of freedom, Bite Your Friends also asks what we ourselves might learn from such examples to become braver, more authentic individuals. From a Roman amphitheatre in the 4th century, where martyrs are fed to wild beasts, to the S&M leather bars of New York in the 1970s and the programmatic defiance of groups like Pussy Riot, this sinuous and illuminating mix of memoir and social history explores the lives of uncommonly brave men and women—saints, philosophers, artists—who have used their own wounded or stigmatized bodies to challenge society’s mores and entrenched power structures.

Running through her narrative of the body militant is Eberstadt’s own story and the vivid story of her mother, a New York writer and socialite of the 1960s, whose illness-scarred body first led Eberstadt to seek connections between beauty, belief, and the truths taught through the body.

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