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.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-02-01
- Reviewer: Staff
“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”: these are the themes that loosely connect the nine essays in Dyer’s (Another Great Day at Sea) scintillating new collection. In “Where? What? Where?,” Dyer discovers a village soccer field while retracing Gauguin’s peregrinations in Tahiti, and reflects that “much of geographical travel is actually a form of time travel.” In “Space in Time,” while visiting the lightning-rod studded landscape of Walter de Maria’s The Lightning Field in Quemado, N.Mex., he writes that massive outdoor art installations of this sort “have more in common with sacred or prehistoric sites than with the rival claims and fads of contemporary art.” Dyer’s essays are more than simple travelogues, and are about deeply personal experiences in which he serves as both a distant observer and active participant. This dichotomy is especially evident in the title essay, which recounts his unsettling encounter with a creepy hitchhiker on the road from Almogordo, N.Mex., to El Paso, Tex. Most of these pieces are distinguished by Dyer’s humorous insights and caustic wit, but the book’s concluding essay, “Stroke of Luck” (which recounts his temporary loss of vision after he suffers a slight stroke), is more evocative than the others, leaving the reader to appreciate the author’s trained eye for details of the world’s more far-flung locales. Color illus. (May)