Nothing But My Body by Tilly Lawless
‘People always ask if I enjoy the sex I have with clients or if I have to fake it, as if the two are mutually exclusive and the interplay between them isn’t more complex. In actuality, it depends. And I’m not sure what people are threatened by more-that I don’t always love it, or that I don’t always hate it.’
Nothing But My Body is an eight-day journey through the mind of a young woman, a queer sex worker in Australia, as she navigates breakups and infatuation across just over a year.
The unnamed narrator’s voice is both fierce and vulnerable, defiant and tender, as she explores the interplay between her external and internal world, and the fluctuations of her emotions as love affairs intensify and wane. Her loneliness is assuaged by her beloved chosen family-her friends-and by the beauty of the natural world.
Set during the cataclysmic bushfire season of 2019 and into the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown, sex work is the constant backdrop of the story as it moves between Sydney, Berlin, Orange and Bellingen. The beauty of the writing and the moving and deeply engaging sense of compassion that threads through this remarkable novel give true meaning to the concepts of inclusivity and community in surprising and original ways.
This stunning, unflinching and lyrical debut is both a rejection of romantic love, a euphoric celebration of the queer community and a reckoning with the body as both abject and joyous.