The Body Artist

The Body Artist✾ The Body Artist kindle Epub ❂ Author Don DeLillo – Bluevapours.co.uk The Barnes Noble ReviewIn whatever form Don DeLillo chooses to write there is simply no other American author who has so consistently pushed the boundaries of fiction in his effort to capture the zeit The Barnes Noble ReviewIn whatever form Don DeLillo chooses to write there is simply no other American The Body PDF/EPUB ² author who has so consistently pushed the boundaries of fiction in his effort to capture the zeitgeist In The Body Artist DeLillo tells the hallucinatory tale of performance artist Lauren Hartke in the days following the suicide of her husband filmmaker Rey Robles Finishing out their lease of a rented house on the coast living in a self imposed exile Lauren discovers a mysterious man in the bedroom upstairs who is able to repeat verbatim entire conversations she had with her husband before his death but does not seem to know his own name or where he happens to come from DeLillo's emphasis on behavior and the inadeuacies of language in The Body Artist will remind readers of his plays Valparaiso The Day Room than of his novels and yet in just a few pages as compared to the sweeping masterful Underworld's plus DeLillo still manages to draw a rich portrait of contemporary American life in all its uotidian glory Describing Lauren in the kitchen on the morning her husband will commit suicide he writes She took the kettle back to the stove because this is how you live a life even if you don't know it In this opening scene Lauren and Rey silently struggle to assign meaning and relevance to an ordinary moment They have a routine; they know what comes next But they can't say what it is They seem cut off from their own actions How do you articulate the emotion that accompanies eating breakfast with your spouse As Rey puts it I want to say something but what When they finish eating Rey drives to his ex wife's apartment in Manhattan to kill himself The uestion remains open as to whether or not the strange man whom Lauren affectionately names Mr Tuttle after an English teacher of hers when she finds him upstairs exists at all or if he is merely a figment of her imagination But Mr Tuttle's origins are entirely beside the point He has no origins He defies description He is neither old nor young Maybe this man experiences another kind of reality where he is here and there before and after And leave it to DeLillo to connect this enigma to the Internet There is a live hour web site Lauren enjoys viewing It shows an empty road in Kotka Finland Occasionally a car drives by or a person crosses the screen but generally nothing happens Lauren is fascinated by the notion that across the globe at this very moment this is happening an episode real enough to withstand the circumstance of nothing going on This may also be the best way to describe The Body Artist a book in which it all happens around the word seem In DeLillo's uniue brand of lucid albeit elliptical prose The Body Artist addresses the very uestions Gauguin inscribed on his famous painting Who am I Where do I come from Where am I going Lauren Hartke answers these uestions by transforming the absurdities of her daily life that hours can seem long or short and still be hours; how a thing can look like something other than itself into a beautiful suggestive live performance Through her art Lauren transcends the limits of language and body approaching an understanding of her husband's death and clearly discerning her own original nature And in a brilliant act of spiritual ventrilouism DeLillo the poet of lonely places dresses himself up in this character placing us in the extreme situation of her search for an experience of meaning she can call living.

Don DeLillo is an American author best known for his novels which paint detailed portraits of American The Body PDF/EPUB ² life in the late th and early st centuries He currently lives outside of New York CityAmong the most influential American writers of the past decades DeLillo has received among author awards a National Book Award White Noise a PENFaulkner Award Mao II and an American.

The Body Artist Kindle å The Body  PDF/EPUB ²
  • Paperback
  • 128 pages
  • The Body Artist
  • Don DeLillo
  • English
  • 27 October 2016
  • 9780743203968

10 thoughts on “The Body Artist

  1. s.penkevich says:

    ‘ 'Maybe the idea is to think of time differently Stop time or stretch it out or open it up Make a still life that's living not painted’In every instant of our waking lives we are experiencing the world around us through all our five senses In order to process and share these experiences we cage our perceptions up in words—abstract signifiers with an assumed weight of meaning However language is frail fallible and full of holes delivering us a beast behind bars a caged animal at the zoo restless and submissive rather than the wild raw power of a creature at one in its natural habitat and able to roam free through our senses Don DeLillo’s brief novel The Body Artist 2001 brings to life the limitations of language to pinpoint experience and further examines this notion in light of a technology infused modern society through the frighteningly intense introspective plunge of the grief and loneliness that befalls Lauren Hartke after the death of her husband DeLillo conducts a uiet symphony of pitch perfect prose to steal the heart as well as crack the shell of concepts such as time and language and masterfully serves us a delicious platter of the abstract implications that hide within This is a novel about abstractions in a world of impermanence and a white noise of Being that buzzes like an aging fridge all around us and a novel about the state of metamorphosis Through Lauren Hartke a nearly parasitic being that absorbs the world around her to explore the vicissitudes of life DeLillo uncrates a haunting and surreal existential discourse on time and how language assesses being effortlessly encapsulating the alienation and anguish of post modern humanity in this age of technology‘ Everything is slow and hazy and drained and it all happens around the word seemed’Jacues Derrida wrote that ‘ il n'ya pas de hors texte there is nothing outside the text’ There are many facets to this statement namely and I apologize for bastardizing the ideas of deconstructionism is such shamefully simplistic and faulty manner that does not even probe beneath the surface of the ideas that authorial intent is overruled by the inherent meaning of words as themselves and that meaning resides in the rhetorical usage of language with regards to historical context grammar and vocabulary Words become a tricky subject that exist in a life beyond our complete control and can only be hoped to be harnessed and rode like a wild stallion across the prairies of pages; words are are method of transporting experience to others and therefore experience must be reigned by language and subjected to its shortcomings of placing an abstract into a signifier ‘ No single word’ wrote Derrida ‘ out of context can by itself ever translate another word perfectly’ Words are rife with meaning a tree full with the fruits of connotation denotation and intention each specific and uniue yet to perfectly harness our intentions it would reuire an exhaustive examination of each word to be sure we are ushering the reader to experience the exact same principals of the experience we are trying to imply It is also important to keep in mind that the word is not the thing only a signpost pointing towards the thing in itself It is an abstract array of sounds agreed upon as an indentifier When we say ‘dog’ for example we don’t paint a clear image of a dog—what kind of dog what color or even if we mean dog like but mostly just rule out that we don’t mean say a cat or a giraffe once again forgive the shallow discussion on Derrida’s différance and the examples from Ferdinand de Saussure’s discourses on semiology I’m painting with broad strokes that can lead to dangerous misinterpretation but the general idea is important to the understanding of the novel In The Body Artist DeLillo highlights the zone where experience and language fail to match up the feelings that life embodies but language falls short of harnessing It is a book about ‘ seems’ a book about the abstract the moments unlocked from time and space and plot The opening scene is a perfect example of Hartke’s ‘living still life’ a scene that is brilliant on its own and would function flawlessly as a short story if shorn from the remainder of the novel The scene focuses on Hartke having breakfast at home with her husband Rey Robles mere hours before his suicide in the living space of a former wife The scene is practically still only several minutes lapsing over the few pages allowing time to stretch open and reveal all the latent implications and overlooked sensory perceptions to the reader because ‘ this is how you live a life even if you don’t know it’ Practically without realizing it Hartke is assessing the world around her and processing it through language from the taste of the breeze to the ‘ cardboard orange aroma’ of the orange juice container—and immensely brilliant collection of words that borders on near nonsense in order to accurately express how much of our sensory experience defies perfect linguistic explanation This is further exemplified by smells that escape definition Nothing described it It was pure smell It was the thing that smell is apart from all sourcesit was as though some maybe medieval scholastic had attempted to classify all known odors and had found something that did not fit into his system Even the sound of birds humming outside the window are obliged to be caged in familiar and examinable language The birds broke off the feeder in a wing whir that was all b’ s and r’ s the letter b followed by a series of vibrato r’ s But that wasn’t it at all That wasn’t anything like it Try as we might language is a poor substitute for earnest experience and our state of being is stifled by our need to understand share and examine it through linguistic policy Language becomes a stand in for an idea but it is akin to a child playing dress up as the idea rather than the idea being in itself This is most notable when Hartke mistakes a paint can for a man When the car moved past the houseshe understood that she was not looking at a seated man but at a paint can placed on a board that was balanced between two chairs The white and yellow can was his face the board was his arms and the mind and heart of the man were in the air somewhere already lost in the voice of the news reader on the radio Lauren Hartke is herself an avant garde artist like her husband an acclaimed surrealist filmmaker As a ‘body artist’ she examines the flux of life through her art exemplifying them through artistic and shocking changes in her body finding inspiration in the world around her Things she saw seemed doubtful—not doubtful but ever changingplunged into metamorphosis something that is also something else but what and what? DeLillo keeps the novel focused on the state of transformation embodying the idea through Hartke’s alteration after the death of her husband She is nearly a parasitic creature drawing her strength from the world and people around her In the opening scene it is apparent that Rey keeps eye on her health ensuring she eats and drinks and that she seems to define herself through his existence Hartke feeds off him and his care ‘ She was too trim and limber to feel the strain only echoing Rey identifying groaning his groan but in a manner so seamless and deep it was her discomfort too’ But what is art but an echo a reaction to the world around you Her art feast upon and is inspired by reality taking natural life and twisting it into surrealistic performances that unlock the inherent meaning of Being in ways that language cannot do After his death she stops eating and begins to waste away literally and figuratively ‘ Now he was smoke Rey was the thing in the air vaporous drifting into every space sooner or later unshaped’ Nothing is permanent in this world and with his impermanence she too feels her own sense of impermanence She is removed of her safety net and is like the ‘ life in midair turning’ that she sees outside her window spinning aimlessly without a thread to something firm to ground it However it is this entrance into the void that becomes her new inspiration her knew way of reading the implications of the world and honing her art on the state of flux and metamorphasis she finds in her own life Through her loneliness and alienation from the world she discovers her form‘ There has to be an imaginary point a non place where language intersects with our perceptions of time and space and he is a stranger at this crossing without words or bearings’Hartke also discovers Mr Tuttle who may or may not exist in the upper levels of her home He speaks and acts ‘ like a man anonymous to himself’ removed from time and place and is even able to perfectly match her and Rey’s voice and recite their final conversations together Mr Tuttle is the pockmarked teenage state of language language still forming and taking shape both theoretically and biologically and emphasized by her naming him after a high school biology teacher Mr Tuttle ‘ violates the limits of the human’ and seems unstuck from time and space He is language in a pure sense not beholden to the constraints of the universe and the clock There’s a code in the simplest conversation that tells the speakers what’s going on outside the bare acoustics This was missing when they talked There was a missing beatThere were no grades of emphasis here and flatness there She began to understand that their talks had no time sense and that all the references at the unspoken levelwas missing here His voice comes out flat and without facial expressions to register emotion paralleled by the synthetic voice on Hartke’s friend’s answering machine ‘ Please leave a message af ter the tone’ This is an age of technology and advances of artificial intelligence and it is intriguing to think of a computer a lifeless machine interacting in lifelike ways and having to also utilize language the way we do to process and deliver information Mr Tuttle is just that language devoid of the human emotion and unstuck from time Technology plays a large part in this slim novel especially with regards to Hartke’s feelings of alienation Computers and technology give us access to the world at our fingertips just a click of a button and she is staring at a live feed of a Scandinavian interstate yet still she feels disconnected from people and lonely There is daily news from around the world to which she can osmose emotion yet there is still a disconnect¹‘ All plots tend to move deathward’ DeLillo wrote in his uintessential masterpiece White Noise Plot and time are imperative here too in The Body Artist ‘ You are made out of time This is the force that tells you who you are Close your eyes and feel it It is time that defines you’ We are strapped to our timeline finite beings whose story plays out in an orderly plot like fashion when seen as a set of points from birth to death; time takes life and ‘ writes it like a line in fiction’ Each point is part of an arc of change and The Body Artist is like a second derivative in math opening up each individual point in time to view the changes therein We are constantly in a state of flux constantly aware of the ticking hands yet with Mr Tuttle we see how events can be viewed ‘outside of time’ as events in themselves If we stopped and slowed down if we saw our life like a bowl of oranges in an ornate frame what would we make of our individual moments? The Body Artist asks this uestion of us being concerned not with where a plot is heading but the metamorphosis that ensues along the journey The final sections including an editorial review of Lauren Hartke’s performance tie the themes of language and change together upon the stage and makes them dance beautifully for the reader Don DeLillo is an author that really knocks it out of the park for me when he is at the top of his game and there are some fantastic existential uandaries brought to life through perfectly polished and flawlessly fluid sentences Part ghost story part linguistic and metaphysical metaphorical dissertation The Body Artist is a slim powerhouse of ideas that is sure to charm the intellect and send the reader racing for DeLillo455‘ Past present and future are not amenities of language Time unfolds into the seams of being It passes through you making and shaping’¹ Sherry Turkle’s Alone Together Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other is an excellent and insightful investigation into the DeLillo esk implications of a post modern technology reliant society and how it breeds human alienation The story goes according to the story I heard on NPR’s Radiolab that Turkle fully endorsed technology and social media as an advancement in human interaction until the fateful day that she took her grad students on a field trip to a nursing home to watch the elderly people staying there interact with a ‘hairless seal’ robot that was designed to mimic empathy and respond to emotion Turkle and her students were horrified believing these dying people deserved than simulated empathy and companionship in their twilight hours and she began to examine life and technology from the other side A worthwhile and intriguing book

  2. Paul Bryant says:

    THERE'S 1000 STORIES IN THE CITY OF GOODREADS THIS IS ONE OF THEM Yes Another Dreadful ReviewerAuthor EncounterI surfaced into consciousness unwillingly like a resurrecting Jesus with too much alimony to pay A slap to the chin and I remembered whose cleancut chiselled features were going to be framing the next supercilious uestion Feeling better Mr Bryant? Yes of course It was The Don But I wasn't going to go uietly Not really you post modern gargoyle of unmeaning You can take your silvery convolutions of ungrammatical feverdreams and shove them where the sun has never shone in a cavern measureless to man down to a sunless sea O Felchmeister of the English tongueCrack That was my head bouncing off the dingy walls of whatever foul rag and bone shop DeLillo had me banged me up in Less of your mouth and of mine he sneered I felt two pairs of strong arms grip me from each side I caught a glimpse of DeLillo's vile acolytes Just as I guessed Steve Erickson on one side and yep the notorious transvestite Bret Easton Ellis “Bretsy” to his friends of which there aren’t any on the other They were giggling like schoolgirls“Oooh the things he said about me and in public”“Oooh let’s do page 149 and then page 301”You won't get away with this I gruntedWe will you know we aren't in the YA business and we're not going to blog about this hissed Bretsy The Don told them to shut up and they sueaked into silence It was pretty clear to me that there were American postmodern novelists and there was The Don His very eyebrow had been reviewed ecstatically in the NYRB times than all the others' entire sets of genitalia And they knew it And now he was heating up a pair of ordinary garden secateurs over a pile of remaindered early Franzen novels the ones before Oprah spotted him“Snip snip Mr Bryant One snip for every nasty little thing you said about me in your nasty reviews and one for encouraging your friends to mock me in surrealistic boxing match fantasies and a final little snip for my two good buddies who have been really uite hurt by the dreadful things you say I suppose you wish us all to write like your precious but sadly dead Raymond Carver? Hmm? ‘And then this sad alcoholic fell over and then this other sad alcoholic went shopping for a mop The end’ Is that it? That’s how you want us all to write?”I was about to demolish his crude travesties of my crude travesties of his and his good buddies’ rancid fictions – I had vowed wild horses wouldn’t get me to remind him that I’d given five stars to Libra – but the application of the secateurs to my dorsal extremeties put an end to rational thought I heard the terrible giggling of Bretsy – “Just one finger please Hee hee” and I pitched back into the welcome abyss of no book reviews ever

  3. L.S. Popovich says:

    A sensual hyper real Delillian song Donnie's poetic prose lilts in sustained focus through ghostly sibilance sinusoidally evocative and throb inducingA brief encounter and a drawn out epiphany An instant under a microscope reveals such texture as the merely human eye cannot perceiveThe hero of this novel is the author Its heroine a uintessential artistic martyr The protagonist embodies human transformations encounters death stews in it and with palpable empathy construes it into artShould an artist live in the world of their art? The story might have elapsed forever unfolding into silent voids The book is haunted beware but its slow regard of human animals will thrill like any previous susurration from the pen of this American maestro

  4. Violet wells says:

    The Body Artist is ostensibly a ghost story It’s a novel about our relationship with the ghost world behind time and language The prose itself seems to alter the maths of time with its pauses rewindings ellipses and fast forwardings He slows down the minutiae of kitchen and bathroom ritual and resonates all the mystery there The body is often his canvas and he shows us through its needs rituals and reactions just how mysterious everyday life is Few living writers can write sentences as beautifully sculpted and glazed as DeLillo Here are some of my favourite uotes from this novel “At night the sky was very near sprawled in star smoke and gamma cataclysms but she didn't see it the way she used to as soul extension dumb guttural wonder a thing that lived outside language in the oldest part of her” “Time seems to pass The world happens unrolling into moments and you stop to glance at a spider pressed to its web There is a uickness of light and a sense of things outlined precisely and streaks of running luster on the bay You know surely who you are on a strong bright day after a storm when the smallest falling leaf is stabbed with self awareness The wind makes a sound in the pines and the world comes into being irreversibly and the spider rides the wind swayed web” “It was agreeable to her the smell of tobacco It was part of her knowledge of his body It was the aura of the man a residue of smoke and unbroken habit a dimension in the night and she lapped it off the curled gray hairs on his chest and tasted it in his mouth It was who he was in the dark cigarettes and mumbled sleep and a hundred other things nameable and not” “They passed out of the shade beneath the eaves and flew into sunglare and silence and it was an action she only partly saw elusive and mutely beautiful the birds so sunstruck they were consumed by light disembodied turned into something sheer and fleet and scatter bright” “But it can't be true that he drifts from one reality to another independent of the logic of time This is not possible You are made out of time This is the force that tells you who you are Close your eyes and feel it It is time that defines your existence” Her eyes had to adjust to the night sky She walked away from the house out of the spill of electric light and the sky grew deeper She watched for a long time and it began to spread and melt and go deeper still developing strata and magnitudes and light years in numbers so unapproachable that someone had to invent idiot names to represent the arrays of ones and zeros and powers and dominations because only the bedtime language of childhood can save us from awe and shame”

  5. Ahmad Sharabiani says:

    The body artist a novel Don DeLilloThe Body Artist is a novella written in 2001 by Don DeLillo It explores the grieving process of a young performance artist Lauren Hartke following the suicide of her significantly older husband The novella is sometimes described as a ghost story due to the appearance of an enigmatic figure that Lauren discovers hiding in an upstairs room of the house following her husband's deathتاریخ نخستین خوانش هشتم ماه اکتبر سال 2008 میلادیعنوان بادی آرتیست؛ اثر دان دلیلو؛ مترجم منصوره وفایی؛ مشخصات نشر «نشر نی، 1386، در 108 ص، شابک 9643128857»؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان آمریکایی قرن 20 مانگار به نمایش در «انتظار گودو»ی ساموئل بکت بی شباهت نیست منتقدی خواندن فصل آغازین همین کتاب را به جستجوی چیزی در تاریک روشنای صبحگاهی اتاق، آن هم پیش از نوشیدن یک فنجان قهوه، تشبیه میکند ساختار «بادی آرتیست» بی شباهت به هایکو نیست فصول این رمان مثل جمله های کوتاه دوپهلویی ست که با هم چفت نمیشوند، و همیشه مرز باریک و خیال انگیز میانشان احساس میشود بخوانید روز سفید مه آلودی ست، و بزرگراه تا آسمان خشکیده بالا میرود چهار باند شمالی دارد، و تو در باند سوم میرانی و ماشینها جلواند، و پشت سر و دو طرف، اما نه خیلی زیاد و نه خیلی نزدیک بالای سراشیبی که میرسی چیزی اتفاق میافتد و حالاست که دیگر ماشینها بی عجله میروند انگار خود به خود رانده میشوند نرم با دنده خلاص بر روی آن سطح پایین میروند همه چیز کند است و مه آلود و خشکیده و همه ی اینها حول انگار اتفاق میافتد همه ی ماشینها از جمله مال تو، انگار، بریده بریده حرکت میکنند، حضورشان را نشان میدهند یا خود را به رخ میکشند، و بزرگراه میان همهمه ی سفیدی امتداد مییابد بعد حس و حال عوض میشود سر و صدا و هیاهو و شلوغی پشت سر اند و تو که درد سنگینی را روی قفسه ی سینه ات احساس میکنی دوباره به زندگی کشانده میشوی پایان نقل ا شربیانی

  6. Edward Lorn says:

    If you plan to read this after reading my review you should know a few things This is a long short story The hardcover was 2200 On the paperback is 1193 And the Kindle version is 799 For round about 60 pages I say round about because the typesetting in the hardcover has to be close to 16 point and the text is damn near double spaced Took me an hour to read the hardcover version which is 124 pages One hour I did not however pay 22 for the hardcover I found it at a charity shop for a uarter What you're going to have to figure out for yourself is how you value art Some galleries charge at the door for showings You get to wander around for an hour for fifty bucks and at the end you have the chance to buy one of the paintings but that half a Franklin gets you nothing but that initial tour It doesn't guarantee you get any of the art And those paintings? Well they can fetch millions for what amounts to some canvas and paint Depending on where you sit some concerts charge 100 for a two hour show Same with baseball games that last two or three hours So how do you value art? Are you a substance over style kinda guy or gal? If so you might want to skip this book because baby it's all styleDon Delillo is a wonderful writer This is my first taste of his prose and I'm a fan I dug the surreal uality of this piece even if I struggled at times separating Lauren's art from reality Her grieving seuences are heart wrenchingly well done But I cannot say this enough you must come for the writing Simply stunning In summation If you need a plot stay away If you want a piece of art to mull over this is well worth the price of admission The brevity of the piece helps the reader to digest the whole and makes repeat reads a welcome idea Highly recommended but only to the right crowdFinal Judgment A masterstroke

  7. Sarah says:

    This is the third Don DiLillo book that I’ve read I read White Noise in college right along with everyone else and thought it was a truly a modern classic just like everybody else Then in graduate school I also read Libra in a 500 level literature class called “ Post Post Modern Fiction” I thought it was terrible although my reaction might have been warped the two utterly heartbreaking three hour sessions my MA Literature classmates spent tearing the book apart one upping each other’s vocabulary usage and saying silly things about books in general You might even say they tore tore the book apartI have mixed feelings about The Body Artist It’s a slim sparse book centered on a performance artist Lauren who is grieving for her late husband In the wake of his death a strange man Ghost? Hobo? appears in her house acts really weird and then disappearsOn the positive side the book is beautifully written it reads like a prose poem then a novel The majority of the book is spent inside Lauren’s head and DiLillo has just plain weird ability to capture how people spend time alone with themselves“She cleaned the bathroom using the spray gun bottle of disinfectant Then she held the nozzle of the spray gun to her head seeing herself as anyone might do alone without special reference to the person’s circumstances It was the pine scent bottle the pistol grip bottle of tile and grout cleaner killer of mildew and she held the nozzle to her head finger pressed to the plastic trigger with her tongue hanging out for effect This is what people do she thought alone in their lives”He also does an admirable job playing with time and perception repeated actions lines of dialogue and images cement the airy but claustrophobic feel of the book and give it even of the feel of a prose poem as do the short second person vignettes at the beginning of each chapter It is in all ways prettyOn the other hand the book does suffer from a few issues that I also picked up on in his other books he can be a little heavy handed at times with the themes of the book Sometimes it feels like he’s shouting “This book is about time and perception And heart ache Just in case you still don’t get it I’ll make Lauren’s last name is Hartke Hart Take Heart Take Heart Ache and I’ll have her do a performance art piece at the end of the book that summarizes the themes of the book all over again in case you missed them”It also comes down to a problem I often have with poetry the actual plot of the story is so vague and stylized that I often didn’t understand what’s happening Even the major reviews I read of the book contradict one another when it comes to basic plot points Is the man in her home a figment of her imagination a ghost a homeless man or her actual husband? I don’t mind subtly or delicacy but I do like to sorta kinda know what’s going on Or at least get a few hints? And don’t say “It is what is it” or “It is what you want it to be” or “who he is isn’t important” because I think those are all cheap cop outsEither way what it comes down to is that DiLillo can write a sentence and create an atmosphere I’ve heard I should read “Underworld” before I judge any further

  8. Ian "Marvin" Graye says:

    Public and Private SpheresUp to the point of “Underworld Don Delillo seemed to be simultaneously interested in the public sphere and the private sphere of the participants in the public sphere When it comes to personal relationships we see mother and son brother to brother husbandwife spouseself and extramarital loverIn “Underworld itself the private sphere grew so interesting that it almost took over the book and its focus on baseball nuclear weapons and waste DeLillo became increasingly interested in the Bronx of his own youth For the first time one of his novels was almost autobiographical “The Body Artist was his first novel after the publication of “Underworld and he continued his interest in the personal sphereThis is Art Sex Aggression Cultural Criticism and TruthThe eponymous body artist is 36 year old Lauren Hartke who is the third wife of 64 year old film director Rey Robles born Alejandro Aluezar in Barcelona He directed two “world renowned movies in the late 1970’s while one of his films “My Life for Yours won the Palm d’Or His next film “Polaris mixed American crime drama and Spanish surrealism and became an art house success with a cult followingFictional film critic Philip Stansky wrote “His work at its best extends the language of film His subject is people in landscapes of estrangement He found a spiritual knife edge in the poetry of alien places where extreme situations become inevitable and characters are forced toward life defining moments”His subseuent films were commercial and critical failures which were partly a result of alcoholism and intermittent depression This Strange Contained RealityBy the time we encounter Rey he is about to leave their rented beach house to return to New York in order to commit suicide Rey and Lauren circle each other in the kitchen while they prepare and eat breakfast They observe objects closely but not each other They struggle to find a language with which to communicate Lauren concentrates on reading the Sunday newspaper “the strange contained reality of paper and ink seeps through the house for a week and when you look at a page and distinguish one line from another it begins to gather you into it and there are people being tortured halfway around the world who speak another language” Other people live “somewhere in the words” of the newspaper which distracts and estranges them or at least reinforces their estrangementLauren is most conscious of Rey's body “the aura of the man a residue of smoke and unbroken habit” These are physical if not emotional òr spiritual details “Sometimes she doesn't think of what she wants to say to him until he walks out of whatever room they're in Then she thinks of it Then she either calls after him or doesn't and he responds or doesn't” We the readers learn of Rey's death by reading a fictional newspaper article at the end of the first chapter in which we hear about his discovery of a spiritual knife edge in alien places although it seems that this knife edge slices through familiar people and places as well Mr TuttlePost suicide Lauren continues to walk absent mindedly through the beach house One day as had occurred three months before when Rey was there she hears a noise upstairs This time it turns out to be a young boy “medicated maybe sitting on the edge of the bed in his underwear “He had a foundling uality He was like a cross between a suatter and an idiot savant “She tried not to press him for information She found the distance interesting the halting uality of his speech and actions the self taught uality his seeming unconcern about what would happen to him now Not apathy or indifference she thought but his limited ability to consider the implications She wasn't sure what it meant to him being found in someone else's house” Lauren gives him the name “Mr Tuttle after her science teacher because she thought “it would make him easier to see” Names and numbers have always been vital to DeLillo's understanding of language and communication Soon Lauren realises that the boy has overheard her disconnected conversations with Rey has memorized them and is able to repeat them verbatim even if he doesn't comprehend their meaning Just because he is able to mimic those whom he hears doesn't mean that the mere utterance of language is an act of communication He's missing the code that turns language into a social bond “There's a code in the simplest conversation that tells the speakers what's going on outside the bare acoustics This was missing when they talkedShe lost touch with him” It's interesting that DeLillo and the “body artist discuss this semiotic code in terms of the language of touch or sensationThe Thing is Communicated SomehowThen she extrapolates “Maybe this man is defenceless against the truth of the world”How can there be truth without consensus?Eually “there is nothing he can do to imagine time existing in reassuring seuence passing flowing happening – the world happens it has to we feel it – with names and dates and distinctions “His future is unnamed It is simultaneous somehow with the present Neither happens before or after the other and they are eually accessible perhaps if only in his mind” She suspects that he must be in a different state of being to her and other people “She didn't think his eye was able to search out and shape things Not like normal anyway The eye is supposed to shape and process and paint It tells us a story we want to believe”So he is unable to name anything let alone to tell a story which consists of “the standard sun kissed chronology of eventsIt is time that defines your existence”He can't even name himself ”like a man anonymous to himself”She concludes that “there were no stirrings of tremulous selfThe thing that made them higher made them modern the gaze that demonstrates we are lonely in our souls” “He is in another structure another culture where time is something like itself sheer and bare empty of shelter” She thinks of him as a “surplus of vulnerability and wonders whether he feels lonelyMaybe It Was All An Erotic ReverieEven though they can't communicate for both Lauren and DeLillo “there is a story a flow of consciousness and possibility The future comes into being”And so a novel or at least a novella came into being Or perhaps it's the story of Lauren’s most recent introspective performance piece?SOUNDTRACKview spoilerBob Dylan Idiot Wind NYC Session Dylan Buckets of Rain Hitchcock Not Dark Yet Lafave Not Dark Yet hide spoiler

  9. Shovelmonkey1 says:

    I picked this book from the 1001 books list based on the title The Body Artist I will also shamefacedly admit that it was part of my cherry picking short books off the 1001 list in a bid to cheat my way to a higher number of read books Don't do this people it can backfire It is also a good reminder that we should read for pleasure and not to fulfil a list or make up numbers or as a sort of enforced chore Which was what this book becameIt appealed to me mainly because I spend a lot of time digging up bodies and thinking about the human condition in a non philosophical sense I'm not very philosophical Despite what the grave digger in Hamlet would have you believe spending your time up to your arse in charnel and musing upon the bony visages of the long departed will not turn you into a thoughtful poet It will turn you into a slightly ghoulish cynic who sees us for what we are mobile worm food which has not started rotting yet Anyway a friend had already warned me off Don DeLillo but foolishly I chose not to heed that warning and stumbled off into the cover of this book instead Really really wish I had not Half a day of my life it's a mercifully short book which is not reclaimable and means I am now officially half a day closer to my annelid snack fest destiny while having lost out to a load of self indulgent piffle The premise is OK but the sentence structure and stylistic traits of the book are not for me Lauren ate her breakfast or not it didn't matte Come on Don They're your characters so please decide whether or not they performed an action Otherwise that's just lazy For those of you who also read this and decided that Don DeLillo had had his one and only chance on your bookshelves don't lose heart I recently read White Noise and it endeared me to Don really it did I'm just about to start reading Cosmopolis and have Underworld lined up like a threatening bulky bully on my shelf too I'll get back to you once it's finished pummelling my face with its daunting word mass

  10. Steven Godin says:

    A minimalistic intimate and slightly odd look at the grieving process of Lauren who after her husband takes his own life returns to their home on the coast of New England to be alone only to discover a strange man hiding out in one of rooms but just who is he and how long has he been there?This reads as a modern ghost story and a meditation of time with a profound sense of isolation from the rest of the living There is this eerie feeling hanging over everything which keeps what little story there is above par as a fan of DeLillo this is probably his least accessible work Best read in one sitting

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