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Working the Room: Essays and Reviews: 1999-2010 Paperback – 4 Aug 2011

4.6 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Canongate Books; Main edition (4 Aug. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847679374
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847679376
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.5 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 45,694 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"Dyer is becoming a character just as arch and seductive as that professional self-effacer from the previous generation, Alan Bennett." (Observer)

"Shrewd, funny, original . . . very good company on the page." (Andrew Motion Guardian)

"A national treasure." (Zadie Smith)

"A seductively straightforward writer . . . like Orwell. Dyer writes engrossingly on everything from love of doughnuts to his sequestered working class childhood in Swindon." (Will Self Financial Times)

"One of my favourite of all contemporary writers. I love his sense of the absurd, his pessimism mixed with robust good cheer, his beautifully crafted sentences, his jokes and his intelligence." (Alain de Botton)

"Languid, elegant, brilliantly conversational." (Tim Adams Observer)

"A true original - one of those rare voices in contemporary literature that never ceases to surprise, disturb and delight . . . Dyer is a must-read for our confused and perplexing times." (William Boyd)

"Insightful, humorous, and . . . exemplifies his passion, wit and ability." (Rob Sharp Independent)

"An irresistibly funny storyteller, [Dyer] is adept at fiction, essay and reportage, but happiest when twisting all three into something entirely his own." (New Yorker)

"It's this ability to develop such passions that gives the literary flaneur his curious edge, a gift for turning both acute spasms of obsession and long-rumbling preoccupations into writing, a highly strung take on the journalistic necessity of burrowing into a subject like a worm in an apple, then moving on to a new fruit" (Victoria Segal Guardian)

"Dyer's musings provide an intensely personal view of the world" (The Times)

"It's this ability to develop such passions that gives the literary flaneur his curious edge, a gift for turning both acute spasms of obsession and long-rumbling preoccupations into writing, a highly strung take on the journalistic necessity of burrowing into a subject like a worm in an apple, then moving on to a new fruit." (Guardian)

"Essays and journalism, often very funny, from the author of Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi." (Sunday Telegraph)

"Dyer's musings provide an intensely personal view of the world." (Times)

Book Description

'Dyer is becoming a character just as arch and seductive as that professional self-effacer from the previous generation, Alan Bennett.' Observer

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This book (also beautifully bound by the way) confirms Dyer's nonchalant mastery of the essay form, managing to make his insights seem effortless and conversational, while also being profound, and more than in his previous books, deeply moving. I've been enjoying Dyer since one of his early columns in the mid-1990s about Paris, women, shirts, cigarettes, apple tarts and of course cappuccino had me crying with laughter such that I was physically unable to read it out to explain what was so funny.

As well as the gags, I think he has also shown a new way to respond to art that, not unlike his mentor John Berger, but in a way that is wholly his own, manages to find the universal and even timeless in what is subjective and particular.

So as Amazon would say "treat yourself!" and get Anglo-English Attitudes while you're at it. And thank you, Geoff.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A collection of essays, what's more - a serious collection of essays - is not going to waft its way up to the literary best-seller list, more's the pity, because this is a collection of treasurable writings. Not all of it will engage because Dyer's interests are multifarious and sometimes very specialist (I'm thinking of his writings on jazz music. You are either an aficionado or not. Or early American photography - again, maybe not). But from around 100 pages in, you will come across some marvellous writing about art, including Turner, Rodin, and early American pastoral art. Similarly with literature. His exposition of the significance of D H Lawrence's work is entirely satisfactory. Other literary interests include James Salter, Tobias Wolff and F Scott Fitzgerald. I was gratified to find one of my favourite unsung novels commented upon, Denis Johnson's Tree of Smoke which is about the Vietnamese War bringing in so many perspectives from Viet-cong to CIA, and personalising these perspectives brilliantly. After reading what he has to say about Rebecca West, I want to read her seminal novel about the Balkans, Black Lamb and Grey Falcon: A Journey Through Yugoslavia.

Dyer's essay on The Moral Art of War name-checks many of the non-fiction works that have attempted to make sense of recent conflicts. It is a reading list and a summary, and I now want to read some of these books, especially Dexter Filkins, The Forever War: Dispatches from the War on Terror.
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Format: Paperback
Geoff Dyer is a lucky man. Not only can he 'write about whatever happens to interest' him (and get it published), he can also look back on a life fuelled by 'books...films...parties...drugs...women...sex...laughing...[and] drinking'. This isn't arrogance on Dyer's part, merely a bemused assessment of his own good fortune. Nevertheless, such admissions could easily become annoying, but they don't, as Dyer is good company, and that is surely the greatest asset of any essayist. Refreshingly, his non-academic approach perks up the articles and essays gathered here, a collection that rarely fails to sing.

There can be no doubt that Dyer has range. In fact, it is quite remarkable. Working the Room houses a veritable hotchpotch of subjects, and the pieces oscillate between art and music, literary criticism and memoir. Although the book is divided into sections - 'Visuals', 'Verbals', 'Variables', and 'Personals' - there is a 'fair bit of seepage between the various categories'. And so, in a foreword on Enrique Metinides, Dyer will bring in Don DeLillo (an obvious touchstone) to make a point. This is a successful (and subtle) tactic, and one that illuminates Dyer's lithe handling of the various art forms.

It is, however, as a memoirist that Dyer ultimately succeeds. 'On Being an Only Child' acknowledges the estranging effects an Oxford education had on his relationship with his parents, while 'On the Roof' recounts his Brixton days on the dole, a blissful scene deepened by a 'quality of study' missing at university. For all their greatness, though, it is 'Of Course' that represents the collection's stunning denouement. A short account of how Dyer met his wife, it is a lovely homage, and one that describes their marriage as feeling 'like doing something right without being sure why'.
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Format: Hardcover
It is not the sort of thing you will find in the airport shop but for someone who wants to think it is an engaging collection of occasional essays.'The Moral Art of War', is a reply to Martin Amis's claims in The Moronic Inferno that non-fiction lacks "moral imagination". It can be rather pretentious but if you go with the flow you will be rewarded with some interesting ideas and new points of view.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a great read, great insight to a variety of artists. An amazing selection of artist from Alec Soth to JMW Turner. The essays are short and hold a very personal feel from Geoff Dyer, making them easy to read and thought provoking.

This book would be great for any student looking for inspiration.
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