|THE BOD ARTIST--by Don DeLillo|
The entrance of the stranger in the cottage turns her aesthetic self-absorption, slowly but inevitably, into a search into her past in order to give her experience meaning, resonance, a project she quite handily ignores until then. The sure unveiling of her psychic life is a haunting literary event. DeLillo's language is crisp, evocative, precise to the mood and his ideas: you envy his flawless grasp of rhythm and diction as these traits simultaneously make the cottage on the cold, lonely coast seem sharp as snapshot, but blurred like old memory, roads, and forests in a foggy shroud. A short, haunted masterwork. I think what I meant to convey was that the meaning she was seeking, the connection between what she's examining outside herself, the precise moment where existence seemed purposeful, is a mystery.
The answer is not revealed, if there was an answer at all. What is obvious to the reader is that we are witnessing rituals of some very private sort--the obsessed cleansing of the body, the concentrated on selected external facts, the momentary wanderings of mind that consider what sort of consequence the continued ritual of trying to bridge the gap between the subjective mind and a world external actually has. Evidence of consciousness, a soul, the essence of what makes us human? Or merely the expected habit for sort of creature we are, mere animal behavior, something directed by biology and an environment that shapes our responses to it? A mystery.
My experience with this book was that it reminded of those times, alone, or in a crowd, when my thinking got the best of me, due to some sort of trauma or illness or some such thing, when the nature of existence became a dominant topic of all my thinking. Concentrated, felt existentialism when all of what seems to be is questioned and nothing seems to fit this world right. It is the nagging sensation that all is mere perception, nothing else.