Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Geoff Dyer: Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi

Finished this the other week, the first half of which I liked much more than the second, which read like a blow-by-blow exotic travelogue of first person narrator in the wilds of Varanasi. Crazy place, sure, but the cocaine-fuelled jaunts through the Venice Bienalle of the first part was much more enjoyable. Even here though it grates, Dyer clearly critiquing the lead character's lucky spree of sex, drugs and culture through the highbrow artworld, but he pulled his punches, and the refusal to resolve was irritating. Any references to Mann's book I missed, surely it was full of them, along with bridges between the two stories. Oh well, I applaud the adventurousness, but, like his earlier Paris Trance, I find his blokey style creates a feeling that you are reading a light airport yarn of the Best a Man Can Get variety.

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