History: Written in 2001. Some critics consider it to reflect elements of Zen. The basic plot of this book is a woman tries to heal from the death of her husband using nontraditional methods.
Plot: The plot of the novel -- and it is only just abstractedly plotted -- follows a woman (a body artist) in her secluded existence as she deals with the suicide of her husband. It seems simple enough, a very human condition. As the novel progresses, we are given little snippets of her and her husband's lives together. Some warm. Some biting. Just enough to piece together a little of their way of being together, just enough so that we understand what, precisely, his absence means to her.
Then enters the magical. A man. A man whose existence (or nonexistence) is never really explained, and who encapsulates the embodiment of the unreal within the novel. The woman discovers him in a room of her house, as though he had been there all along. And it makes sense to her almost immediately that he must have been there all this time. The man himself is child-like, and mysterious. He speaks, but never original speech, only re-enacts past conversations between the woman and her husband. This man is the magic of The Body Artist. He is the soul of the unreal within the novel.
Review: A short book about a woman grieving for her husband, who takes her mind elsewhere… twists her body into different positions as an art form.
It’s one of those novels that makes it hard to tell what is going on. I found that there wasn’t much going on at all. Another book about how the living deal with the dead, I guess.
Opening Line: “Time seems to pass.”
Closing Line: “Because how petty it would be to say such a thing, in the morning or at any time, on a strong bright day after a storm.”
Quotes: "He said, "The word for moonlight is moonlight.""