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What follows is one of the strangest ghost stories since The Turn of the Screw. And like James's tale, it seems to partake of at least seven kinds of ambiguity, leaving the reader to sort out its riddles. Returning to their summer rental after Rey's funeral, Lauren discovers a strange stowaway living in a spare room: an inarticulate young man, perhaps retarded, who may have been there for weeks. His very presence is hard for her to pin down: "There was something elusive in his aspect, moment to moment, a thinning of physical address." Yet soon this mysterious figure begins to speak in Rey's voice, and her own, playing back entire conversations from the days preceding the suicide. Has Lauren's husband been reincarnated? Or is the man simply an eavesdropping idiot savant, reproducing sentences he'd heard earlier from his concealment?
DeLillo refuses any definitive answer. Instead he lets Lauren steep in her grief and growing puzzlement, and speculates in his own voice about this apparent intersection of past and present, life and death. At times his rhetoric gets away from him, an odd thing for such a superbly controlled writer. "How could such a surplus of vulnerability find itself alone in the world?" he asks, sounding as though he's discussing a sick puppy. And Lauren's performances--for she is the body artist of the title--sound pretty awful, the kind of thing Artaud might have cooked up for an aerobics class. Still, when DeLillo reins in the abstractions and bears down, the results are heartbreaking:
Why shouldn't the death of a person you love bring you into lurid ruin? You don't know how to love the ones you love until they disappear abruptly. Then you understand how thinly distanced from their suffering, how sparing of self you often were, only rarely unguarded of heart, working your networks of give-and-take.At this stage of his career, a thin book is an adventure for DeLillo. So is his willingness to risk sentimentality, to immerse us in personal rather than national traumas. For all its flaws, then, The Body Artist is a real, raw accomplishment, and a reminder that bigger, even for so capacious an imagination as DeLillo's, isn't always better. --James Marcus --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
It becomes the readers grief as well.
The prose is beautiful throughout, DeLillo certainly can write, and the book has one of the most amazing opening scenes of any novel I have read.
That doesn't make it hard to read because the sentences are very short and choppy, and the book itself only 124 pages.
As short as this strange book is, you may be tempted to give up on this novel too early. If you do you’ll miss a remarkable ending. Read morePublished 23 days ago by Joe Da Rold
The Body Artist is about a woman by the name of Lauren who is experiencing much grief as a result of her husband’s loss. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Renate Doran
The Body Artist is a very strange and sad story. It’s written about a person who is dead but you feel as if he is still alive. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Marianna Deion
I felt bored all the way, it is a still and a flat book.
Tiring book with too many unnecessary details.
If I could I would give it 3.5 stars, I would. This is one of DeLillo's shorter works and at 128 pages it's more a novella than a novel. Read morePublished 11 months ago by ConcupusAl
After releasing the gargantuan UNDERWORLD in the late 1990s, novelist Don DeLillo has chosen to write at much shorter lengths. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Christopher Culver
it's ok, The book is in very good condition, as a new one. So, no problem with it. I'm entirely satisfied.Published 14 months ago by MIERMONT ADELINE
In my continuing quest to get more familiar with Don DeLillo's books, I picked up The Body Artist and found it to be one of the oddest of his books I have read. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Joseph Landes