Skip to Main Content (Press Enter)

Still Life with Bones

Best Seller
Still Life with Bones by Alexa Hagerty
Hardcover $28.00
Mar 14, 2023 | ISBN 9780593443132

Buy from Other Retailers:

See All Formats (2) +
  • Mar 14, 2023 | ISBN 9780593443132

    Buy from Other Retailers:

  • Mar 14, 2023 | ISBN 9780593443149

    Buy from Other Retailers:

Buy the Audiobook Download:

Listen to a sample from Still Life with Bones

Product Details


“Haunted and fascinating . . . lyrical . . . The stories of these excavators of the past are told compellingly in Still Life with Bones.”The New York Times Book Review

“Moving, profound and very readable . . . There’s a spiritual element as [Hagerty] speaks of learning to ‘read’ the bones and the ghosts that result.”—Financial Times

“In this meditative ethnography, a social anthropologist . . . delicately explores the art, the science, and the sacredness of exhumation in the aftermath of genocide. . . . Throughout the book, just as in forensics, ‘the ritual and the analytical buzz in electric proximity.’”The New Yorker

“Moving and beautiful, harrowing and horrifying . . . A single sentence can stop you in your tracks. . . . Still Life with Bones is stark and upsetting, but also deeply humane and shot through with a hard-won wisdom. You will see forensics in a new light.”New Scientist

“Chilling and vital. . . . sensitive and thought-provoking.”The Times

“Visceral . . . a timely reminder of the legacies of war and genocide . . . a lyrical and powerful meditation on the meaning of justice, grief and ritual.”The Conversation

“Powerful and harrowing . . . told with clarity, compassion and utmost respect for those cruelly killed and for those who grieve for them.”The Irish Times
“Haunting . . . [Still Life with Bones] will stay with you long after the final world.”The Sunday Post (UK)

“Philosophical, poetic, never mawkish, Hagerty’s book has the makings of a classic. . . . [Hagerty] is an exceptional writer, eloquently exploring both the practicalities and the symbolism of her work, sidestepping clunky metaphors while grave while finding startling new ones.”The Times Literary Supplement

Still Life with Bones is at once horrifying and impossibly hopeful.”—Francisco Cantú, New York Times bestselling author of The Line Becomes a River

“Meticulous, luminous, utterly brilliant . . . The prose is as delicate and sharp as a rib cage, but the book’s beating heart is Hagerty’s wise and compassionate voice, a welcome guide through the atrocities she documents.”—Alex Marzano-Lesnevich, author of The Fact of a Body

“Hagerty, a Chekhovian angel of science and poetry, has written an intimate, moving, mesmerizing account. The world is what it is, its global sorrows ever mounting, but this treasure of a book somehow makes it more bearable.”—Francisco Goldman, author of Monkey Boy, finalist for the Pulitzer Prize

“An electrifying read, full  of profound personal insight and intellectual generosity . . . Bones tell chilling stories about our past, but they preserve, too, the potency of alternative outcomes. Hagerty unlocks this possibility with wisdom and compassion.”—Cristina Rivera Garza, author of Liliana’s Invincible Summer

“Touching and achingly honest—a most amazing account of training as a forensic anthropologist . . . When Hagerty talks about ‘lives being violently made into bones,’ I defy you not to be moved.”—Sue Black, author of All That Remains

“Soulful but unsentimental. . . . A powerful meditation on life, death, and sorting out what can be saved of death in life.”Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Every beautifully written page of this extraordinary book affirms the individuality of each victim, and honors the living who serve them and their survivors.”BookPage (starred review)

Looking for More Great Reads?
21 Books You’ve Been Meaning to Read
Get the latest updates about Alexa Hagerty
And go from well-read to best read with book recs, deals and more in your inbox every week.
And go from well-read to best read with book recs, deals and more in your inbox every week.
By clicking “SIGN UP”, I acknowledge that I have read and agree to Penguin Random House’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use and understand that Penguin Random House collects certain categories of personal information for the purposes listed in that policy, discloses, sells, or shares certain personal information and retains personal information in accordance with the policy. You can opt-out of the sale or sharing of personal information anytime.
Something awesome is on its way.
Back to Top