jeff in venice, death in varanasi-geoff dyer

this was a recommendation from one of the hottest young american writers as decided by huffington or the ny times or one other such “authority”. at any rate, it was a quick read, the perfect hat trick for my recent fiction favour. i decided to return the ongoing moment, the author’s critically-acclaimed non-fiction offering that i also had in the pile of overdues-a pile that i mostly gave up on, bringing my total remaining down to 3/60. i have also started making holds active and my micro-collection is slowly growing again. i thank badu often for the public library. here’s to going out of town, and stumbling on some sex:

“That was the thing about the Biennale: it was a definitive experience, absolutely fixed, subject only to insignificant individual variation. You came to Venice, you saw a ton of art, you went to parties, you drank up a storm you talked bollocks for hours on end and went back to London with a cumulative hangover, liver damage, a notebook almost devoid of notes and the first tingle of a cold sore.” (27)

“They disentangled their legs and arms, feeling, he suspected, a little self-conscious now about how their faces had ended up in each other’s genitals. Intimacy is not consistent or uniform; it has its own delays and lags. He was also wondering, slightly, about the etiquette of what had just happened. Were they supposed to have fucked? Laura, evidently, was thinking along the same lines.” (95)

“This was the unique freedom, the supreme indulgence of the hotel room: not the opportunities for afternoon sex, for snorting coke and licking ass, but the freedom to put the telly on at any time of the day, to watch anything (basically nothing) without shame or guilt. If he spent more time in hotel rooms, he would never read another book. If the whole world lived in hotels, no one would read anything more demanding than the in-room dining menu.” (141-2)

“A strange, modern form of intimacy-not Victorian at all-that made it easier to lick someone’s ass than to ask when you might see them again.” (148)

“I’d come to Varanansi because there was nothing to keep me in London, and I stayed on for the same reason: because there was nothing to go home for.” (241)

see chris rock‘s taxonomy of “domestic dick”. even when there are no strings attached, there are puppets and marionettes. who’s pulling your (heart) strings?


One thought on “jeff in venice, death in varanasi-geoff dyer

  1. philosophers (stoned):

    “He was preoccupied, as he sat there, by the implications of coming out as a man who dyed his hair. It was the kind of thing you did if you emigrated to America, went to begin a new life in a place where no one knew your former grey-haired self-but he was reinventing himself on his home turf, in London, on Marylebone High Street.” (12)

    “People say it’s not what happens in your life that matters, it’s what you /think/ happened. But this qualification, obviously, did not go far enough. It was quite possible that the central event of your life could be something that didn’t happen, or something you /thought/ didn’t happen. Otherwise there’d be no need for fiction, there’d only be memoirs and histories, case histories; what happened-what actually happened and what you thought happened-would be enough.” (53-4)

    “The thing about destiny is that it can so nearly not happen and, even when it does, rarely look like what it is.” (163)

    “If there is one thing the great monotheisms have in common, it is the lack of a sense of humour. Is there a single joke in the Bible or the Qu’ran? Hinduism, I saw now, was a joke, but it was not a joke; it was completely ridiculous. And it didn’t stop there. Id did away with the idea of the ridiculous by turning it into an entire cosmology! I didn’t really know if this was true about Hinduism, but here, in this Hindu temple, the notion of the ridiculous became suddenly sublime.” (189)

    “After a fling with Gabriel Garcia Marquez, I’d come to detest even a hint of magic realism in fiction. As soon as I came to a passage in a novel where the trees started talking to each other, I gave up on the spot. Compared with what went on in the Hindu myths, trees talking to each other seemed like scrupulous reporting, documentary. This was magic realism without any vestige of the real.” (195-6)

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