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How Dare He?

Jenny Turner: Geoff Dyer

11 June 2009
Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi 
by Geoff Dyer.
Canongate, 295 pp., £12.99, April 2009, 978 1 84767 270 4
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... I had envied them sometimes,’ GeoffDyer writes in Out of Sheer Rage, his 1997 book about D.H. Lawrence. ‘Those in work, those with jobs. Especially on a Friday night when, relieved that it was over for another week, they could down tools ...

No Longer Handsome

William Skidelsky: Geoff Dyer

25 September 2003
Yoga for People who Can't Be Bothered to Do It 
by Geoff Dyer.
Abacus, 238 pp., £10.99, April 2003, 0 316 72507 2
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... GeoffDyer announced recently that he wasn’t ‘very interested in character and not remotely interested in story or plot’. For someone who writes novels (I hesitate to use the word ‘novelist’), this is ...

Realty Meltdown

Geoff Dyer

24 August 1995
Independence Day 
by Richard Ford.
Harvill, 451 pp., £14.99, July 1995, 1 86046 020 8
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... Richard Ford’s narrator, Frank Bascombe, quit serious writing to become a sports-writer. This was the making of Ford. It wasn’t until he became Bascombe, the sportswriter, that Ford turned himself into a major novelist. At odd moments in The Sportswriter, Frank looks back on his abandoned literary career. He had published a ‘promising’ collection of stories, Blue Autumn, and had then started ...

In Transit

Geoff Dyer: Garry Winogrand

20 June 2013
... I didn’t make it to the huge Garry Winogrand retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco but if the very large catalogue is anything to go by the show was obviously … not nearly big enough!* How could it have been? Winogrand is inexhaustible. There’s probably more to look at in a Winogrand photo than in one by anyone else (part of the attraction of a wide-angle lens was the way ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: New Writing

8 March 2001
... number of familiar names on the contents page: Barbara Trapido, Anthony Thwaite, Anne Stevenson, Alan Brownjohn, Helen Simpson, Andrew Motion, Michael Hofmann, Alan Sillitoe, Louis de Bernières and GeoffDyer are ten of them, and ‘new’ isn’t the first word that springs to mind. But there are plenty of good reasons, too obvious to need repeating, for the inclusion of well-known writers, and it ...
19 March 1987
Ways of Telling: The Work of John Berger 
by Geoff Dyer.
Pluto, 186 pp., £4.95, December 1986, 0 7453 0097 9
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... is also adaptable: as well as half a dozen novels and volumes of essays there have been television programmes and films. This varied body of work hangs together. The epigraph to the first chapter of GeoffDyer’s book, a quotation from 1956 – ‘I am a political propagandist ... But my heart and eye have remained those of a painter’ – could apply equally well to the later work at the other end ...

At the Royal Academy

Peter Campbell: Rodin

5 October 2006
... a hand-held 35mm camera – the traditional equipment of the reporter or street photographer – are displayed in the exhibition. They are also published as a book, Apropos Rodin, with an essay by GeoffDyer.† Few of them are straightforward records. Some are close-up details in which the ridges where sections of the mould meet slow the eye as it reads the form. In others the view through a case ...

Complicated System of Traps

Michael Wood: Geoff Dyer’s ‘Zona’

19 July 2012
Zona: A Book about a Film about a Journey to a Room 
by Geoff Dyer.
Canongate, 228 pp., £16.99, February 2012, 978 0 85786 166 5
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... of a film: ‘her eyes, her watching eyes, and her face and head, resting on the table, watching us watching her, fading to black’. The film we have been seeing through these two hundred pages of Dyer’s memory and prose is Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker (1979), a science fiction movie that doesn’t so much transcend the genre as pervert it, turn it over to the history of religion – or perhaps ...

Diary

Geoff Dyer: Why Can’t I See You?

2 April 2014
... For at least a decade I’ve been telling anyone who would listen that I wanted to end my days in California. One of the people I said this to, in San Francisco, was quick to put me right: you don’t end your days in California, you begin them. I was happy to be corrected in this distinctly Californian way, but when we eventually got here it seemed that I might have been right after all. My wife and ...

Short Cuts

Tom Crewe: The State of Statuary

20 September 2017
... backdrop to our lives for no reason other than that they’re there. It’s only when you begin to look at them properly that they seem stranded, shipwrecked by history. ‘Age may not weary them,’ GeoffDyer has written of the army of bronze soldiers on permanent guard at First World War memorials, ‘but … powerless to protect themselves, their only defence, like that of the blind, is our respect ...

In Service

Anthony Thwaite

18 May 1989
The Remains of the Day 
by Kazuo Ishiguro.
Faber, 245 pp., £10.99, May 1989, 0 571 15310 0
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I served the King of England 
by Bohumil Hrabal, translated by Paul Wilson.
Chatto, 243 pp., £12.95, May 1989, 0 7011 3462 3
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Beautiful Mutants 
by Deborah Levy.
Cape, 90 pp., £9.95, May 1989, 0 224 02651 8
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When the monster dies 
by Kate Pullinger.
Cape, 173 pp., £10.95, May 1989, 9780224026338
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The Colour of Memory 
by Geoff Dyer.
Cape, 228 pp., £11.95, May 1989, 0 224 02585 6
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Sexual Intercourse 
by Rose Boyt.
Cape, 160 pp., £10.95, May 1989, 0 224 02666 6
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The Children’s Crusade 
by Rebecca Brown.
Picador, 121 pp., £10.95, March 1989, 0 330 30529 8
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... lungs to capacity.’ The blowing up of Batter-sea Power Station forms the book’s climax, but by that time I was too jaded to be stirred. The inhabitants of When the monster dies live in Vauxhall. GeoffDyer’s people in The Colour of Memory live in Brixton. Their sense of the awfulness of everything is almost indistinguishable. Here are three consecutive and not exceptional paragraphs: We walked ...

Who would you have been?

Jessica Olin: No Kids!

26 August 2015
Selfish, Shallow and Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on the Decision Not to Have Kids 
edited by Meghan Daum.
Picador, 282 pp., £17.99, May 2015, 978 1 250 05293 3
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... are out of earshot. Nunez over-identifies: ‘I get flustered when a person says to me, “I don’t like children.” I was a child, I want to say.’ With few exceptions (notably, gleefully, GeoffDyer) these writers don’t object to children per se, but to the narrowing of perspective – what Dyer calls ‘an appalling form of myopia’ – and the swallowing up of one’s own identity that ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: What I did in 2019

22 December 2019
... we would have gone on the march which, thanks to Oliver Letwin’s amendment, turned out marginally more hopeful than I was expecting. Looking for a book to read in bed, I take down as I think GeoffDyer’s The Missing of the Somme. It seems less chatty than I remember and it’s only when I come to the end of the first chapter on the Thiepval arch that I realise it’s not by GeoffDyer but ...
20 February 2014
... reality that has disappeared; childhood seems breathingly close. But the sense of masquerade persists: I gorge on nostalgia, on fondnesses that might have embarrassed me when I lived in Britain. GeoffDyer writes funnily, in Out of Sheer Rage, about the obsession with reading the TV listings in English papers he developed when he was living in Italy, even though he had never watched TV when he ...

Hare’s Blood

Peter Wollen: John Berger

4 April 2002
The Selected Essays of John Berger 
edited by Geoff Dyer.
Bloomsbury, 599 pp., £25, November 2001, 0 7475 5419 6
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... John Berger’s selected essays run to nearly six hundred pages, yet that is just the tip of the iceberg if one looks at the totality of his published work: the essays and reviews about the visual arts – drawing, painting, photography, film – but also short stories, journals, screenplays, travel articles, letters, television scripts, translations, novels, poems, even a requiem in three parts which ...

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