Talk of the Stacks: Geoff Dyer
I first collided with the British writer Geoff Dyer in a travelogue/essay titled Yoga for People Who Can't be Bothered to Do It. His writing turned my literary vices — rampant digression, meandering prose — into an art form. Dyer's prose has been aptly described by the critic James Wood as combining "autobiography, travel writing, cultural criticism, literary theory, and a kind of comic English whining. The result ought to be a mutant mulch but is almost always a louche and canny delight." His novels, reviews, and essays energize the overlap between fiction and nonfiction, novelty and sagacity. Reading Dyer can be like riding in a bumper car. You're whizzing along nicely when he slams you front, side, and back; deflects your momentum; torques your train of thought; and rams you with another point of view. His latest book, Otherwise Known as the Human Condition (published by our own savvy Graywolf Press), is a collection of essays on music, art, literature, popular culture, and contemporary life as only Dyer can frame it. The eponymous essay, a sort of Seinfeldian meditation on habit (much like Anna Karenina is sort of a book about dysfunctional families), winds its way from London roads he has traveled, through Nietzsche and Freud, to finding the perfect doughnut and cup of cappuccino in New York. Dyer will be joined on onstage by Fiona McCrae, publisher at Graywolf, for a conversation about his work. (Photo by Marzena Pogorzaly)
Sat., Nov. 17, 7 p.m., 2012
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