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Out of Sheer Rage: Wrestling with D. H. Lawrenceby Geoff Dyer
Synopses & Reviews
FINALIST FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD
Geoff Dyer was a talented young writer, full of energy and reverence for the craft, and determined to write a study of D. H. Lawrence. But he was also thinking about a novel, and about leaving Paris, and maybe moving in with his girlfriend in Rome, or perhaps traveling around for a while. Out of Sheer Rage is Dyer's account of his struggle to write the Lawrence book — a portrait of a man tormented, exhilerated, and exhausted. Dyer travels all over the world, grappling not only with his fascinating subject but with all the glorious distractions and needling anxieties that define the life of a writer.
"In the spirit of Julian Barnes's Flaubert's Parrot and Alain de Botton's How Proust Can Change Your Life, Mr. Dyer's Out of Sheer Rage keeps circling its subject in widening loops and then darting at it when you least expect it...a wild book." Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, The New York Times
"A potently distilled treatise on literature." The New Yorker
"Smart and furious enough to justify its many detours. This book is a rant — not a meditation, never a meditation! — on pique and procrastination but primarily on that chronic, commonly occurring brand of perversity that defies psychiatric classification....[Dyer is] a comic antihero well-suited to our time." The Washington Post
"Out of Sheer Rage is about something other than Lawrence or Not Lawrence....It's real point is Dyer's roundabout, tricky, discursive, and often witty ramblings on what it means to make a work of art or even an artistic statement in postmodern culture." Los Angeles Times
"There are well over 1,000 books on D.H. Lawrence, but this one has an unconventional angle. On the first page, one is disabused of the notion that this will be yet another critical analysis or biography, perhaps brilliant, perhaps jargon-ridden, but destined to join all the others. Instead of his planned academic 'Lawrence Book,' Dyer gives us a splendid study on procrastination, denial, rationalization, and writer's block. As he travels around Paris, Greece, Oaxaca, and other locales, he agonizes over such things as what books to bring along and which to leave behind; either way, they become excuses for not writing. There is the irony that the self-admittedly undisciplined Dyer did indeed manage to produce this book, even if not the learned tome he had intended. It deserves to be called his 'Lawrence Book,' and it's probably all the better for the manner in which it was written. Heartily recommended." Library Journal
Geoff Dyer had always wanted to write a book about D. H. Lawrence. He wanted, in fact, to write his “Lawrence book.” The problem was, he had no idea what his “Lawrence book” would be though he was determined to write a “sober academic study.” Luckily for the reader, he failed miserably.
Out of Sheer Rage is a harrowing, comic, and grand act of literary deferral. At times a furious repudiation of the act of writing itself, this is not so much a book about Lawrence as a book about writing a book about Lawrence. As Lawrence wrote about his own study of Thomas Hardy, “It will be about anything but Thomas Hardy, I am afraid — queer stuff — but not bad.”
About the Author
Geoff Dyer is the author of Out of Sheer Rage: Wrestling with D.H. Lawrence, which was a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist, as well as Paris Trance: A Romance, and But Beautiful: A Book About Jazz. He lives in England.
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