I'd like to nominate Geoff Dyer as the official spokesman for Generation X. Nobody writes better about procrastination and slackerdom, while at the same time being extremely prolific and incurably curious. White Sands, in typical Dyer style, details his pilgrimages to various places that most people would never even consider visiting. However, his eye for detail and embracement of the ridiculous will soon have you adding these destinations to your own bucket list. Recommended By Shawn D., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
From "one of our most original writers" (Kathryn Schulz, New York Magazine) comes an expansive and exacting book — firmly grounded but elegant, often hilarious, and always inquisitive — about travel, unexpected awareness, and the questions we ask when we step outside ourselves.
Geoff Dyer’s restless search — for what? is unclear, even to him — continues in this series of fascinating adventures and pilgrimages: with a tour guide who may not be a tour guide in the Forbidden City in Beijing; with friends in New Mexico, where D. H. Lawrence famously claimed to have had his "greatest experience from the outside world"; with a hitchhiker picked up on the way from White Sands; with Don Cherry (or a photo of him, at any rate) at the Watts Towers in Los Angeles.
Weaving stories about places to which he has recently traveled with images and memories that have persisted since childhood, Dyer tries "to work out what a certain place — a certain way of marking the landscape — means; what it’s trying to tell us; what we go to it for."
With 4 pages of full-color illustrations.
"Reasons to read Dyer, a critic, novelist, and creative nonfiction writer with a clutch of prestigious awards: he is an exhilaratingly superb stylist who uses his literary might and artistic and cultural erudition to express irreverent and irascible opinions and philosophical musings. And when he is in travelogue mode, as he is here, his observations are stunning in their candor about disappointment (his heart, he tells us, ‘is prone to sinking’) and acidly hilarious….Wherever he goes (Watts Towers, the Forbidden City), Dyer reports on the glorious complexities of both outer and inner worlds with acerbity, delving intelligence, and disarming and profound wit." Booklist
"Echoes and residues and lingering resonances thrill the author, which is ultimately the wonderful thing about Dyer’s racing, wildly associative mind….When Dyer’s insights gain altitude, they are transcendent, reminding us that every square inch of the planet shimmers with the magnetism of its former life and former meaning." The Boston Globe
"With philosophical incisiveness, Dyer extols the virtue of landscape to conjure in himself the tangible and the mirage, the real and the illusion, the possessed object and the desired object. There is an undeniable joy throughout Dyer’s writing, an affirmation that travel and the experience of place — not merely being someplace, but being present in it — is a gateway to the humanity of past, present, and future. A mesmerizing compendium that reflects on time, place, and just what, exactly, we are doing here." Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
"Dyer’s virtue is not the whole-hearted embrace of experience and exotic locales but the parsing of degrees of disappointment. He also doesn’t pretend to be heading anywhere, but then ‘White Sands’ turns into a memoir and becomes unexpectedly moving…. Dyer’s tone as he relates his frightening brush with tragedy is calm and full of curiosity, possibly as a result of eschewing drama for his entire life. White Sands is a short book, brisk, hard to take and worth the attempt, just the sort of paradox Dyer most enjoys." Jane Smiley, Los Angeles Times
About the Author
A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Geoff Dyer has received the Somerset Maugham Award, the E. M. Forster Award, a Lannan Literary Fellowship, a National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism, and, in 2015, the Windham Campbell Prize for non-fiction. The author of four novels and nine works of non-fiction, Dyer is writer in residence at the University of Southern California and lives in Los Angeles. His books have been translated into twenty-four languages.
Geoff Dyer on PowellsBooks.Blog
I always know that something special is happening to me when the temporal is manifested in the spatial, or when history is apparent in geography...