Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Body Artist” as Want to Read:
The Body Artist
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Body Artist

3.24  ·  Rating details ·  9,006 ratings  ·  755 reviews
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.
Paperback, 128 pages
Published February 5th 2002 by Scribner (first published January 1st 2001)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.24  · 
Rating details
 ·  9,006 ratings  ·  755 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Body Artist
Aug 03, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Language lovers and still-life seekers
'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
Paul Bryant
Aug 23, 2011 marked it as probably-never
THERE'S 1000 STORIES IN THE CITY OF GOODREADS - THIS IS ONE OF THEM - Yes, Another Dreadful Reviewer/Author Encounter

I 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 question.

"Feeling better, Mr Bryant?" Yes, of course. It was The Don. But I wasn't going to go quietly.

"Not really, you post-modern gargoyle of unmeaning. You can tak
Violet wells
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 b ...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
The body artist: a novel, Don DeLillo
The 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 death.
تاریخ نخستین خوانش: هشتم ماه اکتبر سال 2008 میلادی
عنوان: بادی آرتیست؛ اثر: د
Edward Lorn
Jul 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 $22.00. On Amazon, the paperback is $11.93. And the Kindle version is $7.99. 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 ch ...more
Sep 14, 2007 rated it liked it
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 v ...more
Luís C.
The novel opens with a scene of a large breakfast. Nothing is happening, just a couple, Rey Robles and his third wife Lauren Hartke having their morning breakfast together. Did I tell you nothing was going on? No, this breakfast made up of "unspoken" or meaningless conversations and daily gestures that repeated slowly, classically, mechanically.
I turn the pages, forget about this "mind-blowing" breakfast and suddenly come across the obituary of Rey, a cult filmmaker of sixty-four who has just co
Franco  Santos
Jan 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
“What did it mean, the first time, a thinking creature looked deeply into another's eyes? Did it take a hundred thousand years before this happened or it was the first thing they did, transcendingly, the thing that made them higher, made them modern, the gaze that demonstrates we are lonely in our souls?”
The Body Artist es una poderosa novelette sobre el dolor, el delirio y la corriente temporal que se lo lleva todo. Esperaba muy poco de esta obra secundaria de DeLillo, pero me terminó sorprend
Jun 29, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Shovelmonkey1 by: 1001 books list
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 became.

It appealed to me, mainly because I spend a lot
Apr 20, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels-novellas
"The body artist" is Lauren Hartke. Third wife of a failed filmmaker. The Body Artist opens with a brief interaction between Lauren and her husband, followed, in quick succession, by the suicide of the husband/failed filmmaker and the arrival of a stranger who barely communicates.

Like Kaspar Hauser, the stranger enters the narrative without explanation. Unlike Kaspar Hauser, he doesn't carry a note. Nothing in the form of an explanation. Lauren is startled by his arrival, and considers alerting
aayushi girdhar
Jan 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
when the early Japanese constructed their language, they blended all the shades of blue and green to concoct a single, homogenized term - ''ao'' (青). Even today, the Japanese refer to specific vegetation, apples and vegetables as ''ao'' (such as blue apples, blue leaf, blue grass). as someone who always took pride in her understanding of the words, I felt betrayed at this contrived attempt to synthesize the human experience of all the shades vastly different colours into a single, bare word - 'a ...more
Who Is He? *spoilers*
After the death of her husband, Lauren finds an uninvited guest in the rented house from which she has to leave in few weeks. Lauren came back to that house to sense the presence of a husband who committed suicide one day when he routinely left the house on “business.”
Lauren debates whether to call the police, hospitals, whatever, or just watch the young man for some time. He is weird, and she wants to understand who/what he is. He does not talk much. He does not even know
Steven Godin
Jun 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
K.D. Absolutely
Jan 08, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of tragic love stories
Recommended to K.D. by: 1001 Must Read Books; Tata J
Shelves: ex-1001
This novelette is like a breath of fresh air in the last row of books that I've read. It is definitely one of its kind and Don DeLillo is one heck of an author whose other works I will be reading within this year. I already have a copy of his Underworld, Mao II and Falling Man.

In this novel, he definitely showed Nabokov's mastery of prose that almost feels like poetry and the skillful storytelling that is comparable to Ian McEwan's in his masterpiece Enduring Love. The remarkable difference, how
Sep 03, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: po-mo
I hesitated as I was rating since I technically didn't finish the book. Most of the time the fact that I didn't complete a book is enough for me to give it 2 stars or less, but this is also significant because it's under 130 pages and I was actually in a patient enough mood for postmodernism.

If you ask me what The Body Artist is about, I cam tell you about 4 things.
1) The main couple lives in a house
2) They eat human food, I think it was cereal, or maybe toast
3) They walk around the house a
Apr 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing
The opening is a lengthy and gorgeous description of a couple having breakfast. Then the story turns into a deeply weird meditation on grief, time and self. The prose is gorgeous.
Jan 07, 2020 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone.
First visit with DeLillo. This I think, is a wonderful piece. However it seems to move on so many levels that one is not sure where they have just been. Issues of time and space, mourning, reality and the imagined and whatever might be in your mind on the day you read this will be on the table for you.

To share the inner thoughts of Lauren is a wonderful read regardless of your interpretation. May be a higher rating if I get a better handle on this down the road.
Girish Gowda
DeLillo is a wordsmith.
I'm one of those people who has no problem whatsoever with plotless books. Give me a bunch of interesting characters, and blow me away with beautiful, lyrical writing. I'm all game for such stuff.
The book has some exceptional writing. The repetitions (which I've come to believe is a must for writers,like DeLillo, who love to write satire), shape the tonality of the novel.
The opening breakfast scene is brilliant and the book held my attention for most of the part. But the
Samir Rawas Sarayji
Oei. A pretentious and self-involved... story? Slice-of-life? Experimental writing?

A very short novel that could be read as a love story, but that would be tragic (pun intended) since I never cared for the protagonist in the first place. So what is the drive behind the book? Probably the hallucinations or the crazy person that is an occasional psychic, either way, it is a thin line holding this book together. The story came across as wanting to be magical realism but it fell way off the mark the
Matthew Appleton
61st book of 2020.

This is my first venture into DeLillo's work, somehow. Having said that, I don't feel as if I've missed much, with this anyway. This is what I refer to as a 'nothing' book. The whole thing washed over me causing no reaction to anything. The writing annoyed me too. It's not bad, but some lines just annoyed me at the pointlessness of them. Lots of lines like this: 'Lauren ate her breakfast, or not, it didn't matter.' or sentences like this just seemed to contradict themselves so
Apr 02, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A good noncommittal way to try a new author is by reading their shorter works. Thing with that is it isn't always possible to know it it's an adequate representation of the author's talents. In this case Body Artist is a novella really, though the edition refers to it as a novel. But, based on this, would I commit to a larger work by an author like the much acclaimed White Noise or the behemoth Underworld...probably not. Body Artist does show a certain flair for language and has some lovely turn ...more
Jul 19, 2012 rated it did not like it
I hadn't read anything by Don DeLillo before so perhaps this was a bad book for a first experience.

After I finished this book, I had this very powerful sensation: You know how when you go to see some obscure foreign film with your friends or you see an art exhibit that everyone else feels is so profound and deep while you are just sitting there wondering if your friends are insane because you don't see anything at all? That is the same feeling I had when I finished this book.

I found this to be
Nate D
Mar 25, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2008
The first chapter of The Body Artist is a near perfect bit of prose-poetry, two people microscopically dissected through a few minutes of mundane action. Everything proceeds in a sort of hyperreal slow motion, but it flows easily, naturally, even so. From there, the book switches gears into a study of self-isolation that rivals some of the loneliest passages of H. Murakami (who, in turn, has written some of the loneliest novels I know), but even at its brisk novella length, the book never grabbe ...more
Marcus Hobson
Mar 10, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is another book off my Masters reading list which I am re-reading. For the second time, being asked to look in more detail is producing a greater appreciation of what has been written and the techniques employed.

The first chapter contains an incredible amount of detail about what is essentially nothing happening over the breakfast table. A couple half-communicate, engrossed in their own little bubble and only half-listening to each other. If all books were written this way, everything would
Jun 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
A well written, clearly and vividly described, mesmerizing novella about a few months in the life of Lauren Hatke, a body artist. Lauren lives a lonely life in a rental house on the coast, coping with the recent death of her husband. In the house she meets a strange man who can not communicate properly.

Here is an example of DeLillo's writing:

"She began to pick up the phone. She used a soft voice at first, not quite her own, a twisted tentative other's voice at first, to say hello, who is this, y
Everything that its immediate predecessor Underworld is not, and accordingly demonstrative in conjunction therewith of author’s not inconsiderable range. Opens with a conceptual quotation of To the Lighthouse regarding the (view spoiler); Woolf’s scene is my all-time favorite in world literature. The handling here is structurally identical—but whereas Woolf does not examine the effects, preferring a quick, dreadful textual locus, this novel focuses clearly on th ...more
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
Rey and Laura, husband and wife. They rented a big, rambling, isolated house near the sea. Laura is Rey's 3rd wife.

One day, Rey went to his first wife's house. Alone, he sat on a chair there and blew his brains out with a gun.

Laura, by herself now, chooses to still live in the rented house by the sea and wait till the lease expires. One day, she discovered a retarded man in one of the rooms of that big house. He can't communicate but somehow apparently had observed Laura and Rey secretly before
Nick Wellings

The Body Artist

Ghost meets Truly Madly Deeply in book form.

This was a damp squib for me, a misfire. Basically a treatise of the uncanny, born from a fictionalised encounter with an-other.

Spoilers: (plotlines...)

One day you're at home with your husband looking out the window at the birds, making toast and chatting. Everything's cool.

Next thing you know, breakfast been and done, he's driven from your holidayplace in New England to Manhattan where he used to live, and shot himself.

Cue DeLilloean s
The Body Artist is a book written by Don DeLillo. It is sometimes referred to as a novel and sometimes as a novella. I don't really see the need to classify it as one of those (or to classify it at all for that matter), but you can leave in the comments your arguments and opinions.
This is a story of a young woman whose husband has committed suicide. She was her third wife and much younger than him. We follow in her footprints as she deals with death and loneliness. 

This was, in my opinion, a
Jun 12, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2016
A recently widowed performance artist meets a mentally-splintered psychic time traveler (actually a retarded homeless guy who has broken into her summer home and rewards her hospitality by shitting in her car, but, hey, before you judge, she's in no state of mind to start accepting such grim realities and besides, y'know, it's romantic how time itself and space itself and chance itself have brought he and she together at this exact moment) and embarks on a project to tape record at the kitchen t ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Librari...: Add ISBN-10 2 8 Apr 27, 2019 09:48PM  
Reading 1001: The Body Artist by Don DeLillo 2 8 Feb 09, 2019 07:49PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Paul's Case
  • White Egrets
  • Miss Lonelyhearts
  • The Verificationist
  • Our Gang
  • Millennium Approaches (Angels in America #1)
  • Bleeding Edge
  • Dissipatio H.G.
  • Devils in Daylight
  • Seize the Day
  • Wittgenstein's Mistress
  • The Man Without Qualities: Volume II
  • Jazz
  • The Afterlife
  • Letters Written During a Short Residence in Sweden, Norway and Denmark
  • The Crying of Lot 49
  • JR
  • Camp Concentration
See similar books…
Don DeLillo is an American author best known for his novels, which paint detailed portraits of American life in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. He currently lives outside of New York City.

Among the most influential American writers of the past decades, DeLillo has received, among author awards, a National Book Award (White Noise, 1985), a PEN/Faulkner Award (Mao II, 1991), and an American

Related Articles

Need another excuse to treat yourself to new book this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our lis...
48 likes · 21 comments
“When birds look into houses, what impossible worlds they see.” 48 likes
“Why shouldn't the death of a person you love bring you into lurid ruin? You don't know how to love the one you love until they disappear abruptly. Then you understand how thinly distanced from their suffering, how sparing of self you often were, only rarely unguarded of heart, working your networks of give-and-take.” 27 likes
More quotes…