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The Body Artist | [Don DeLillo]

The Body Artist

Since the publication of his first novel 30 years ago, Don DeLillo has lived in the skin of our times. He has found a voice for the forgotten souls who haunt the fringes of our culture and for its larger-than-life real figures. The Body Artist is DeLillo's haunting and profoundly moving new novel.
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Publisher's Summary

In this spare, seductive novel, Don DeLillo inhabits the muted world of Lauren Hartke, an artist whose work defies the limits of the body. Lauren is living on a lonely coast, in a rambling rented house, where she encounters a strange, ageless man, a man with uncanny knowledge of her life. Together they begin a journey into the wilderness of time - time, love, and human perception.

©2001 Don DeLillo, All Rights Reserved; (P)2001 Simon & Schuster Inc., All Rights Reserved; AUDIOWORKS Is an Imprint of Simon & Schuster Audio Division, Simon & Schuster Inc.

What the Critics Say

“DeLillo’s most affecting novel yet...A dazzling, phosphorescent work of art.” (Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times)

“The clearest vision yet of what it felt like to live through that day.” (Malcolm Jones, Newsweek)

“A metaphysical ghost story about a woman alone…intimate, spare, exquisite.” (Adam Begley, The New York Times Book Review)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.6 (68 )
5 star
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Overall
3.8 (38 )
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4.2 (38 )
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Performance
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  •  
    John Chapel Hill, NC, USA 04-30-05
    John Chapel Hill, NC, USA 04-30-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
    36
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    "Excellent in every way"

    I'd give this one six stars if I could. DeLillo isn't everyone's cup of tea. The earlier negative reviewer is fair: the painstaking exactitude with which he documents our (contemporary American people's) thoughts and speech could, I suppose,--if you're not attuned--seem to have a pointless obsessiveness. But man alive, if you let yourself go with it, you'll find that he's speaking thoughts you yourself have had, speech you yourself recall having heard someplace (you can't quite recall where); and it's all absolutely true, often funny, and continually disconcerting. What's even more odd about the sense of familiarity is that this book, really, is a bizarre ghost story in the tradition of James' Turn of the Screw or Conrad's Secret Sharer.
    About the narration: Laurie Anderson is perfect for this book in every way, aurally and temperamentally. I could listen to her tell stories for days on end. Audio quality excellent, too.

    14 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Columbia, SC 10-27-03
    Amazon Customer Columbia, SC 10-27-03
    HELPFUL VOTES
    31
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    "DeLillo's usual excellence"

    With DeLillo's usual expertise, this story is an excellent slant on the grieving process. I felt that I wanted to listen to it again as soon as it had ended, afraid that I had missed so much of the important details. This is definitely one that bears repeating and I would highly recommend it. It is not one to be casually listened to in the background, however. It required concentration. I found myself rewinding whenever I got to engrossed in traffic while I drove...but well worth the effort!

    13 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Swallowtail 11-29-11
    Swallowtail 11-29-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    14
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    "Worth it just to hear Laurie Anderson's narration!"

    DeLillo's take on the grieving process is fascinating, unique and, admittedly, sometimes confusing. As one reviewer noted, you can't listen to The Body Artist in traffic and fully appreciate its complexity. Laurie Anderson's narration is superbly nuanced. Hers is just the right voice, just the right articulation.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    03-21-05
    03-21-05 Member Since 2014
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    "How boring can it get??"

    Why did I buy this book? The write up looked interesting but the book is proving to be a big disappointment. I am not enjoying it at all. So far it has been description after endless description of the most mundane aspects of life - with a little story thrown in if you can find it. This is the first audio book I will not finish. I recommend listening to a sample before buying - you may find this as boring as I have.

    6 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joe Kraus Kingston, PA, United States 07-13-15
    Joe Kraus Kingston, PA, United States 07-13-15 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Powerful and Intense, but Hard to Follow"
    What three words best describe Laurie Anderson’s voice?

    I love her own work and saw her many years ago in a brilliant concert. Unfortunately, her voice strikes me as ineffectively "quiet" for these purposes. I listened while I rode in a car, and it seemed much of her inflection got drowned out by road noise. She's a great performer and a major artist in her own right, but I don't think her voice is quite pitched for the work of narration.


    Any additional comments?

    I'm a big DeLillo fan, but this turned out to be very difficult to follow as an audiobook. It's a story where the ground is constantly shifting, where we can't be certain of many of the things we early on take for granted. I think it would be confusing to read even as a printed book, but that confusion is amplified through the listening experience.

    The central figure experiences a deep loss and, at least I read it, she projects that loss onto a character who suddenly seems to occupy her house. I read that character as an image of her grief and, as such, that central metaphor is beautiful and powerful. The book doesn't settle there, though, and, much as it pains me to say of DeLillo, this one doesn't quite find its core argument. (I recently read Point Omega as well, and I found that a much better work.)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Rebecca
    Hackney, London, United Kingdom
    3/9/09
    Overall
    "urgh. stop."

    this is the worst book i've ever "read" by delillo - i'm a big fan of white noise, cosmopolis, underworld etc but i actually began to find this book so embarrassing to listen to that i eventually turned it off. i found delillo's imaginative attempt to describe female embodiment from the inside very, very weird indeed, and i would say that if you're not into breathy confessional discussions of embodiment, in a performative, "body art" context, then spare yourself this one. on the other hand, if you are into all that stuff - i know that some people are, and i'm not standing in judgement - then, great, this book is for you.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Miss Emma T
    7/9/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Interesting but not really for me"

    I did struggle to finish listening to this book. It's written in a very specific style and I just found it hard to keep my concentration on what was being said - my thoughts kept wandering away from what I was hearing! It was worth a listen though!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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