Download The Body Artist

The Body Artist

The Barnes & Noble Review
In 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 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 Robl
The Barnes & Noble Review
In 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 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 came from.
DeLillo’s emphasis on behavior and the inadequacies of language in The Body Artist will remind readers more of his plays (Valparaiso, The Day Room) than of his novels, and yet, in just a few pages — 128, as compared to the sweeping, masterful Underworld’s 800-plus — DeLillo still manages to draw a rich portrait of contemporary American life in all its quotidian 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 question 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, 24-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 unique brand of lucid, albeit elliptical, prose, The Body Artist addresses the very questions Gauguin inscribed on his famous painting: Who am I? Where do I come from? Where am I going? Lauren Hartke answers these questions 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 more clearly discerning her own original nature. And in a brilliant act of spiritual ventriloquism, 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.


Author: Don DeLillo
Pages: 128 pages
Format: PDF
Size: 34.31 Mb



More ebooks

  • Babel-17Download Babel-17 The Barnes & Noble ReviewAfter years of being out of print, two of Samuel R. Delany's masterworks are finally available again. Delany, who is described in The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction as "one of the most influential and most discussed within the genre," published Babel-17 and Empire Star in 1966. The former went on to win the Nebula Award for Best Novel. Babel-1 The Barnes & Noble ReviewAfter years of being out of […]
  • Mathematical Puzzle TalesDownload Mathematical Puzzle Tales Martin Gardner is widely known for his writing on recreational mathematics, not least for the myriad problems he has devised over some 25 years for Scientific American. In this book are collected 36 of his best brainteasers. These are not simply cunning puzzles, but serve to illustrate the art of the mathematician as problem solver, and their solution draws on ideas from t Martin Gardner is widely known for his writing on […]
  • From a Buick 8Download From a Buick 8 The Barnes & Noble ReviewAt first glance, Stephen King's latest bears a familial resemblance to Christine , his 1983 saga of a haunted, homicidal Plymouth Fury. But From a Buick 8 is a marked departure from this earlier tale of adolescent angst and teenage tribal rituals. It is the work of an older, more reflective writer, one who knows that the most pressing questions The Barnes & Noble ReviewAt first glance, Stephen […]
  • Napalm & Silly PuttyDownload Napalm & Silly Putty The Barnes & Noble ReviewWhether it involves musing on the inevitable and annoying ironies of everyday life, spouting off about anything and everything that gets his goat, or just plain figuring out new and improved ways to be difficult, George Carlin's comedy is incorrigible and unmistakable. Following the runaway success of Brain Droppings, Carlin now delivers all-ne The Barnes & Noble ReviewWhether it involves musing […]
  • Encarta World English DictionaryDownload Encarta World English Dictionary The Barnes & Noble Review There are two ways to judge a dictionary: You can go by the numbers, i.e., the quantities of words defined, illustrations, and new entries. Or you can browse it in all of its real world splendor. The Encarta World Dictionary sports 400,000 entries, including 20,000 new words, and over 4,000 illustrations. And, if its definitions pass for thoro The Barnes & Noble Review There are two ways to judge […]
  • If You Take a Mouse to SchoolDownload If You Take a Mouse to School The Barnes & Noble ReviewBringing a plucky mouse to school isn't the wisest idea, no matter how much fun it might seem. Thankfully, the bestselling duo of author Laura Numeroff and illustrator Felicia Bond -- creators of If You Take a Mouse to the Movies and If You Give a Mouse a Cookie -- have teamed up to show us the hijinks a whiskered school guest could cause.Sta The Barnes & Noble ReviewBringing a plucky […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *