PEL's Not School Fiction Group read Don DeLillo's novel The Body Artist, and Paul Harris and I recorded our discussion of the unique relationship between Lauren and Mr. Tuttle, the ghostly being that arrives after her husband's suicide. You can get it on the Citizen Free Stuff page.
[Spoiler]'Mr. Tuttle', as Lauren decides to call him, has a haunted look, he mimics old conversations between her and her late husband, he stares blankly, he eats, he pisses, he cries. It is easy to imagine Mr. Tuttle as imaginary, or a ghost, because only Lauren ever meets him, and, he has no explained origin. Though one of Lauren's fantasies is that he may be an escaped mental patient, that never pans out, and the mystery being remains mysterious. What is clear, is that Mr. Tuttle truly exists in Lauren's mind making him a phenomenal fact, at least to her. The reality of Mr. Tuttle becomes even more obscure when Lauren, the body artist, begins performing Mr. Tuttle. [Spoiler Finished]
The novel's language is simple and the story flows beautifully from imagery to memory to self-reflection:
"Maybe this man experiences another kind of reality where he is here and there, before and after, and he moves from one to the other shatteringly, in a state of collapse, minus an identity, a language, a way to enjoy the savor of the honey-coated toast she watches him eat.
She thought maybe he lived in a kind of time that had no narrative quality. What else did she think? She sat in the nearly bare office on the second floor and didn't know what else she thought." (p.68)
This very afternoon (Sunday 3/31, 2pm central time) we will discuss Thomas Pynchon's novel The Crying of Lot 49 with the Not School Fiction Group. If you're familiar with this work and want to get in on the discussion, join Not School and check out the directions on the group to see how.