Tuesday, 22 January 2013

The Body Artist by Don DeLillo (2.5/5)

First published: 2001
Page count: 124

The back says: The Body Artist opens with a breakfast scene in a rambling rented house somewhere on the New England coast. We meet Lauren Hartke, the Body Artist of the title, and her husband Rey Robles, a much older, thrice-married film-director. Rey says he's taking a drive and he does, all the way to the Manhattan apartment of his first wife. Lauren is left alone, or so she thinks...

I say: I was expecting a lot more from this, and although I get what DeLillo is doing, it just didn’t work for me.

At all.

First of all I didn’t like the prose. It was mostly jerky, common and disjointed in a way that made me focus more on the way things were being said rather than what was being said. However, every now and then there would leap out a sentence or a passage that was almost poetic to keep me trudging on.

But these were quite few and far between.

The story itself could have been interesting, but I find it hard to focus on a story that is so dependent on words when the words used to tell it bother me. I’m not sure how to explain it properly, but the question of Lauren not being alone felt contrived and just meh.

It also made her come across as a bit creepy and pitiful.

After I finished this I saw a review comparing it to The Turn of the Screw (which I hated), so yeah, 2.5/5 because this type of ghost story does nothing for me.


  1. I loved the turn of the screw :/ . Scared the hell out of me but then creepy children usually do. I think I owned a DeLillo book once but got bored and gave up. Don't know what happened to it.

    1. Hahaha at your DeLillo book. Do you remember which one it was? I loved Cosmopolis and was hoping for more of the same. Meh.

      Oh, and creepy children in films scare me - creepy children in books just annoy me.

    2. I can't remember. It wasn't Cosmopolis as it had more than one word in the title. I know that is of no help. It really was years ago though. I wonder if I loaned it to someone and never got it back. No loss since I can't remember much about it other than I gave up.

      I can't watch films with creepy children as I know I will have to sleep with the light on for the rest of my life.

      Have you read The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham? Had lots of creepy children but very different to the Henry James creepy children. Loved that book too.