Wednesday, April 21, 2010

REVIEW: The Body Artist by Don DeLillo

The Body Artist by Don DeLillo is just strange. I'm not sure I entirely get it. I've never read any of DeLillo before, this was my introduction, and it was a little confusing. I've had the book for more than a year now, I picked it up because it's on the original 1001 Books to Read Before You Die and, if I'm being honest here, it's just over 100 pages. I figured it'd be an easy book to read to cross off the list to fulfill my 1% well-read challenge. But the book seemed to languish on my shelves. Something about it screamed that it wouldn't be an easy book to read.

I loved the first chapter, this breakfast scene between Lauren (the body artist of the title) and her husband Rey. They have this weird dialogue going and you view it from Lauren's perspective and see into her inner mind-workings. It's sort of amusing and a little odd. From there, it skips to an article of Rey's suicide in his first wife's house that happened immediately after this breakfast. And the rest of the novel is with Lauren and her grief and suffering. She returns to a holiday home she shared with Rey and meets a strange man.

And this strange man is really at the centre of everything that I found strange about the book. Is he just a man? Is he a ghost? Is he something out of Lauren's head? I guess it doesn't matter. It's really a little novel about loss and sorrow. At the same time as feeling completely unconnected to this novel and its characters, I always felt like the writing and the scenes sent me into a melancholy state. I don't know how or why. But there's more to this book than just the mystery of this odd ghost-man.

And it was only 100+ pages. *shrugs*


  1. This sounds intriguing! Lots of questions, few answers. But apparently not a book that's easy to like. Onto the TBR list it goes, so I can come up with my own theory about what happens.

  2. It sounds interesting, but I think I prefer everything to be more clear cut.

  3. JG - I think that's for the best, reading a book to make up your own mind. I didn't dislike the book, and it's easily read in a literal way with the man just being a slightly strange man. But I guess my mind doesn't work that way?


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