The thought of starting out on a 1000-page book of non-fiction is rather off-putting, especially if you are doing so with no particular aim in mind. But once such a book has you in its thrall it feels like it takes no more time or effort to get through than a three-hundred page novel.
JESSE MONTGOMERY: Well, I’m sure it’ll be better than Romanian YouTube. That was a struggle.
GEOFF DYER: Yeah, as I say in the book, this was a film that has to be seen properly projected, and that seems to me to be part of what it’s about. It’s about the wonder of cinematic space, and time is manifest in that, blah, blah, blah. You know — all that Tarkovsky bollocks!
Failure is quite interesting, and it’s something I have a certain amount of experience with. I wasn’t a failure in the way lots of people are…
This should be done. By all. Nick will be there, and he’d love to meet you, dear readers!
“Even if you’ve never given a second thought to quicksand, tried LSD, or watched The Wizard of Oz (Dyer hasn’t), his read of Stalker permits you to square your life with a film that you may or may not know anything about.”
— Fanatic Meets Stalker: Geoff Dyer’s Zona by Buzz Poole
Recently I came upon instances of three very different writers drawing on three very different movies to produce three odd and wondrous little books. The writers are Geoff Dyer, Don DeLillo, and Jonathan Lethem, who, for all their differences, have one thing in common. Each became bewitched by a movie that spoke so forcefully to him that he watched it again and again until it revealed all of its secrets and meanings, until he grasped what might be called the movie’s deep tissues.
Tuesday New Release Day!
Geoff Dyer on Andrei Tarkovsky; César Aira on unexpected masterwork; Adam Wilson on paraplegic sex addicts; and Lars Iyer on rat plagues. (You know you want to click.)
John Updike said: “Review the book, not the reputation”, but I think reputation works in two ways. On the one hand, you can be rather deferential; on the other hand, when you’ve got a certain reputation, people are eager to bring you down. To what extent is book reviewing a young person’s game?
The book is also startlingly autobiographical. The Room in the movie is supposedly where you attain your deepest desire, which is, Dyer says, sort of the same as one’s greatest regret. “If so,” he writes, “then my greatest regret is, without doubt, one I share with the vast majority of middle-aged heterosexual men: that I’ve never had a three-way, never had sex with two women at once.”
“In Britain these days ‘respect’ is the most debased word in the English language; each year numerous murders result from the notion that the perpetrators had been treated with insufficient respect by someone whom they promptly stabbed. The same thing has been going on in America where, I’m guessing, the verb ‘to diss’ originated.”
— Geoff Dyer’s Year In Reading 2011