The Quick-Change Artist
The miscellaneous prose of novelist, memoirist, critic, and first-class noticer Geoff Dyer.
Otherwise Known as the Human Condition:
Selected Essays and Reviews
by Geoff Dyer
$18.00 List Price
A writer who actively resists categorization these days might seem to be deliberately flouting common sense. Writing is a lame-duck art form at best, since readers go for data, preferably without having to chop their way through encroaching idiosyncrasies such as style. For all we know, the pursuit of data will soon enough be free of the encumbrance and ambiguity of words. In the meantime, the writer should be building a brand identity and hitching it to a neatly delimited subject area. If you've written a successful memoir about fishing, Manitoba, and suicidal ideation you would do well not to stray too far from those ingredients in your subsequent works. You want to turn your lemonade stand into a chain.
By those standards, Geoff Dyer is almost unimaginably self-destructive. He has written four novels (The Colour of Memory, The Search, Paris Trance, and Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi), a study of the British art critic and novelist John Berger (Ways of Telling), a collection of biographical vignettes about jazz musicians that manages to keep one foot in fiction and the other in nonfiction without losing balance (But Beautiful), an extended essay on the dead of World War I (The Missing of the Somme, which will be published in the US for the first time this July), a book about not writing a book about D. H. Lawrence (Out of Sheer Rage), a set of fuck-off travel pieces (Yoga for People Who Can't Be Bothered to Do It), an extended essay about motifs in photography (The Ongoing Moment), and now the present book of miscellaneous essays and short pieces, which showcases Dyer's