Dana's Reviews > The Body Artist

The Body Artist by Don DeLillo
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's review
Sep 13, 2010


My roommate doesn't meditate. I know because I read him a sentence about meditating out of this book:

"sat cross-legged, back straight, breathing dementedly. She blew through her nostrils and made echoey sounds in her throat, visualizing her body lifting and spinning, a rotation with every breath."

I meditate, but I have never visualized myself spinning. The spin cycle. The salad spinner.

She checks the time, she pirouettes.

There is a tape recorder. The tape recorder is of some significance. I'm sorry. I can't help it. I'm reminded of Lost. I'm reminded of a David Lynch film. Is the creepy little man reciting his lines backward? Is DeLillo playing them in reverse?

A sampling of the man's words:

where yes talking now you how this alone

A tone exercise, I suppose, as suggested by another reviewer.

I kept thinking the protagonist was some sort of Reiki practitioner or masseuse.

Instead of talking about it, they talk it. Some exercise in the recreating of consciousness?

Have you read Alice Munro's story Free Radicals? It has the exact same premise. I kept thinking this story would end the exact same way.

Above, somebody wondered how DeLillo did it. I believe there was a method or technique. Something regular. Some source material.

The mythology of time. "How much myth do we build into our experience of time?" Indeed, Mr. DeLillo, indeed. Beyond that, the passages about time and subjectivity escaped me on first reading.

Here's the big spoiler:

"Why shouldn't the death of a person you love bring you into lurid ruin? ... 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."

She sands her feet and depigments and uses astringents and plastic strips.

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