Troy Patterson
February 16, 2001 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Body Artist

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Don Delillo
genre
Fiction

We gave it a B

Less a novella than a spectral prose poem, DeLillo’s 12th book is a meditative tangle that’s both hypnotic and boring. The first chapter is a dreamy wonder in which a couple putters about the kitchen of a rural house, fixing breakfast. The wife turns out to be a performance artist, her husband a director of art films, the morning their last together. The rest of the book’s 124 pages find her reckoning with his suicide, mainly in the company of a strange, nameless little man who appears in the house. Seemingly every page contains a mention of ”wind,” or ”breathing exercises,” or ”still air,” or the ”formless distortion of the teeming space around your body.” Despite all this busy musing on the flow of time and memory, any real provocation to thought is lost in the haze of DeLillo’s atmospherics. B

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