Monday, February 8, 2010

Jeff in Venice Death in Varanasi, Geoff Dyer

My favorite line of poetry is from Elizabeth Bishop...I lost two cities, lovely ones. I feel Dyer could have applied this so closely to this novel. Instead, Dyer writes in a detached, half-dead voice. A shallow dialogue between one empty thought and another.

The first section, set in Venice, centers around a huge art event. Parties, pot, cocaine, sex, etc are all at the narrators fingertips. And, the narrator is quick to indulge. There is something enjoyable about the free life he is living, but the story lacks any presence. Should we find significance in this story?

The second section is in Varanasi. The death is of the narrator. He is reborn. He creates his own god after a brief trip on some local drugs. He comes out a changed man. Prepared to look within himself. But, Dyer never goes deeper than the idea. We don't see Jeff's trip inside himself. We just briefly glimpse the aftermath.

If it hadn't been for the last 30 pages, I would have found this novel a horrid experience.


No comments:

Post a Comment