The Body Artist is the first book I read by Don DeLillo, and probably be the last. Although it is a short book, I was it felt like a very long one. I could not get into the story and, didn’t like the characters. When I finished it, I could not stop myself from saying “What was that now?”.
However, I had great expectations about The Body Artist. Don DeLillo is a famous and award-winning author. His books are among most people’s favourite books. So I started the book with great excitement. However, I couldn’t help but pity for the nearly an hour I lost towards the end.
Lauren’s partner, a body artist, commits suicide. Then a man appears in their house. We don’t why, but Lauren was not afraid of him, and they try to speak little by little. But, this man talks and acts like Lauren’s dead partner. You would think the book begins now, right? No. After a while, you will find that the most logical thing in the book is that Lauren calls her friend and obsessively listens to that mechanical voice on her answering machine. Yes, she is mourning. There is a sentence in the book’s blurb: “… Don Delillo tries to get to the other side of an unusual narrative in Body Artist.” The other side of an unusual narrative. Well, so be it. I won’t recommend this to anyone, but if you want to read a really strange book, this may hit the spot.
The Body Artist
The Body Artist begins with normality: breakfast between a married couple, Lauren and Rey, in their ramshackle rented house on the New England coast. Recording their delicate, intimate, half-complete thoughts and words, Don DeLillo proves himself a stunningly unsentimental observer of our idiosyncratic relationships. But after breakfast, Rey makes a decision that leaves Lauren utterly alone, or seems to.
As Lauren, the body artist of the title, becomes strangely detached from herself and the temporal world, the novel becomes an exploration of a highly abnormal grieving process; a fascinating exposé of ‘who we are when we are not rehearsing who we are’; and a rarefied study of trauma and creativity, absence and presence, isolation and communion.
Donald Richard DeLillo is an American novelist, short story writer, playwright, screenwriter and essayist.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: