The Body Artist, by Don DeLillo

"Time seems to pass," the opening line of Don DeLillo's 12th novel, could sum up this spare, evocative work. The story begins with an intimate portrait of a married couple at breakfast in a rented summer cottage. The accumulating detail and realistic dialogue introduce the novel's theme of awareness. Lauren Hartke and Rey Robles speak to one another yet do not always hear what is said. Lauren's groan resembles "a life lament." She takes the kettle to the stove because "this is how you live a life even if you don't know it." She sees her husband looking at but not reading the paper and "understood this retroactively."

 

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