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Otherwise Known as the Human Condition: Selected Essays and Reviews

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Otherwise Known as the Human Condition: Selected Essays and Reviews Cover

ISBN13: 9781555975791
ISBN10: 1555975798
Condition: Standard
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Awards

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

*Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award in Criticism*
*A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice*
*A New York Times Top 10 Nonfiction Book of the Year, as selected by Dwight Garner*
 
Geoff Dyer has earned the devotion of passionate fans on both sides of the Atlantic through his wildly inventive, romantic novels as well as several brilliant, uncategorizable works of nonfiction. All the while he has been writing some of the wittiest, most incisive criticism we have on an astonishing array of subjects — music, literature, photography, and travel journalism — that, in Dyers expert hands, becomes a kind of irresistible self-reportage.

Otherwise Known as the Human Condition collects twenty-five years of essays, reviews, and misadventures. Here he is pursuing the shadow of Camus in Algeria and remembering life on the dole in Brixton in the 1980s; reflecting on Richard Avedon and Ruth Orkin, on the status of jazz and the wonderous Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, on the sculptor ZadKine and the saxophonist David Murray (in the same essay), on his heroes Rebecca West and Ryszard Kapus´cin´ski, on haute couture and sex in hotels. Whatever he writes about, his responses never fail to surprise. For Dyer there is no division between the reflective work of the critic and the novelists commitment to lived experience: they are mutually illuminating ways to sharpen our perceptions. His is the rare body of work that manages to both frame our world and enlarge it.

Review:

"In this new collection of previously published writings, Dyer (Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi) traverses a broad territory stretching from photographers such as Richard Avedon and William Gedney ('His gaze is neither penetrating nor alert but, on reflection, we would amend that verdict to accepting'); musicians Miles Davis and Def Leppard; writers like D.H. Lawrence, Ian McEwan, and Richard Ford; as well as personal ruminations on, say, reader's block. In a fond tribute to the power and beauty of Albert Camus's life and work, Dyer reflects on his own encounters with the writer's work in Algeria: 'Coming here and sitting by this monument, rereading these great essays, testaments to all that is the best in us, is a way of delivering personally my letter of thanks.' In a masterful essay on W.G. Sebald and Thomas Bernhard, Dyer writes: 'The comic obsessiveness and neurosis common to many of Sebald's characters is like a sedated version of the relentless, raging frenzy into which Bernhard's narrators habitually drive themselves.' Dyer's writing does what the best critical writing always does, encouraging us to view, read, or listen closely to art, literature, and music as well as to pay close attention to various cultural forms and their impact on our personal lives. (Mar.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright PWyxz LLC)

Review:

"An irresistibly funny storyteller, [Dyer] is adept at fiction, essay, and reportage, but happiest when twisting all three into something entirely his own." The New Yorker

About the Author

Geoff Dyer is the author of four novels and five genre-defying books, including But Beautiful; Out of Sheer Rage, which was a National Book Critics Circle finalist; and, most recently, Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi. He lives in London.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Peter Stamelman, January 16, 2012 (view all comments by Peter Stamelman)
Geoff Dyer's wide-ranging and passionate erudition are in evidence in every essay, review and autobiographical musing in this remarkable collection. Art, photography, literature, music - all are grist for Dyer's prodigious, all-encompassing mill. How refreshing in this age of short attention spans and hermetic specialization to find a writer who celebrates the joys and rewards of possessing an eclectic's curiosity. Dyer's riffs on Rebecca West, Don Cherry, Robert Capa, James Salter, et al. transcend "criticism". Make room on your book shelf for Dyer alongside Didion, Sontag and Updike.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781555975791
Author:
Dyer, Geoff
Publisher:
Graywolf Press
Author:
DYER, GEOFF
Subject:
General
Subject:
General Literary Criticism & Collections
Subject:
Anthologies-Essays
Subject:
Essays
Edition Description:
Trade Paperback
Publication Date:
20110331
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
432
Dimensions:
9.00 x 6.00 in

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Otherwise Known as the Human Condition: Selected Essays and Reviews Used Trade Paper
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Product details 432 pages Graywolf Press - English 9781555975791 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "In this new collection of previously published writings, Dyer (Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi) traverses a broad territory stretching from photographers such as Richard Avedon and William Gedney ('His gaze is neither penetrating nor alert but, on reflection, we would amend that verdict to accepting'); musicians Miles Davis and Def Leppard; writers like D.H. Lawrence, Ian McEwan, and Richard Ford; as well as personal ruminations on, say, reader's block. In a fond tribute to the power and beauty of Albert Camus's life and work, Dyer reflects on his own encounters with the writer's work in Algeria: 'Coming here and sitting by this monument, rereading these great essays, testaments to all that is the best in us, is a way of delivering personally my letter of thanks.' In a masterful essay on W.G. Sebald and Thomas Bernhard, Dyer writes: 'The comic obsessiveness and neurosis common to many of Sebald's characters is like a sedated version of the relentless, raging frenzy into which Bernhard's narrators habitually drive themselves.' Dyer's writing does what the best critical writing always does, encouraging us to view, read, or listen closely to art, literature, and music as well as to pay close attention to various cultural forms and their impact on our personal lives. (Mar.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
"Review" by , "An irresistibly funny storyteller, [Dyer] is adept at fiction, essay, and reportage, but happiest when twisting all three into something entirely his own."
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