The bodies are those of Joseph and Celice, who when they had been alive were academics and biologists. The novel also follows them in their student days when they meet on a biology field trip. This part of the novel is full of detailed observations of the natural world.
We later see the couple as they go back to the place of their field trip. Time has not been kind either to them or to the coastline - which is now under development as a luxury gated community.
Given that today we are all too likely to forget our place in the natural world, this is an important book that deserves to be widely read.
Being Dead by Jim Crace, 1999