The Body Artist Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Body Artist

Lauren Hartke employs her own body as a canvas. She is the third wife of Rey Robles, a filmmaker who commits suicide shortly after the novel begins. As Lauren attempts to cope with the loss at a rented New England house near the ocean, she discovers a strange man living in one of the upstairs rooms. He doesn't speak in complete sentences, and often parrots things she or Rey had said in the preceding weeks. Lauren questions and tape records the stranger, trying to make sense of him as well as her shattered life. DeLillo writes with largely and deceptively simple prose, much of it presented from Lauren's point of view, that makes the common world seem utterly strange and new, even mesmerizing.
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The review of this Book prepared by David Loftus

This beautifully written book opens with Lauren Hartke and her husband Rey enjoying a familiar breakfast together. Then Rey commits suicide leaving Lauren alone in the large rented New England house to cope with her loss. A mysterious and strange man appears on a bed one day dressed only in his underwear. Lauren takes him in and tries to communicate with this man who only speaks in strange sentences. He imitates her dead husband's voice and sometimes hers and she can find out nothing about who he is or where he came from. She feels that the man remembers the future as sentences he speaks are later uttered by her. He then vanishes and Lauren makes a body art performance out of her encounter with him. This mysterious book evokes the loneliness of loss and is mellow in its thought provoking prose.
The review of this Book prepared by John Marcel

Chapter Analysis of The Body Artist

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Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   thoughtful Time/era of story    -   1980's-1999 Life of a profession:    -   artist Internal struggle/realization?    -   Yes Struggle over    -   vague finding self/purpose in life (i.e. no plot to book) Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Coping with loss of loved one(s)    -   Yes Loss of...    -   husband/boyfriend/squeeze Job/Profession/Status story    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Female Profession/status:    -   artist Age:    -   20's-30's Ethnicity/Nationality    -   White (American)


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   6 () United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Northeast Small town?    -   Yes

Writing Style

Sex in book?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   vague references only    -   touching of anatomy Amount of dialog    -   significantly more descript than dialog

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Don DeLillo Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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