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Yoga for People Who Can't be Bothered Paperback – 18 Mar 2004
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'A freewheeling, bawdy, elegant tour of a brilliant mind' Steve Martin 'Extraordinary ... Hilariously funny ... Absolutely original ... If Hunter S. Thomson, Roland Barthes, Paul Theroux and Sylvia Plath all went on holiday together in the same body, perhaps they would come up with something like it. This is the funniest book I have read for a very long time' William Sutcliffe, Independent on Sunday 'Possibly the best living writer in Britain' DAILY TELEGRAPH
'A screamingly funny genre-defying feat . . . sublime' Maggie O'Farrell, Daily Telegraph --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.See all Product description
Top customer reviews
Unless there have been substantial changes to this edition, I'd say this is at best misleading...
However, it's still a great book, Geoff Dyer remains one of the most incisive, wry, dry humoured and generally delightful writers in the universe, and if you somehow missed this during the intervening decade, it's worth a read in any format.
Dyer's travels are more about him grappling with his own restlessness in the world, than the places themselves. Perhaps the defining passage appears on page 211: "I was distracted, constantly, by one thing or another. Everything competed with and detracted from everything else. Nothing was satisfying, nothing held its own. If I was out I wanted to be in and if I was in I wanted to be out." That sentiment is kind of the thematic glue that binds his journeys together.
I suppose the book could be really interesting for a reader similarly struggling with how to "be" in the modern world (although bear in mind, the book predates the explosion of social media), but I'm not that reader. I suspect it's my own lack of introspection that makes me completely uninterested in memoirs, but Dyer's brand of Rilke/Larkin/Woolf quotes juxtaposed with accounts of which drugs he's taking to heighten his experiences seems almost custom-made to annoy me.
This only appears to be 'Geoff Dyer writes a travel book about some exotic places'. In fact, as fans of the man's work are aware, each book he writes is a chapter in a sort of ongoing autobiography. The problem with this one is that it's the most nakedly autobiographical one, travel books being what they are. The Travel Writer persona is not a mask that suits Dyer. His book on WW1, or his sort-of critical study of DH Lawrence, are more absorbing because they're about Dyer identifying with his subjects. Here, he has only himself as tourist to identify with. It also appears that he wasn't having the best time during his travels; there are strong hints at some sort of serious breakdown. This means that his customary stimulating interest in the outside world is somewhat muted - it's one of the most introspective travel books ever written.
Fortunately for us all he seems to have rallied, because he went on to write one of his best and richest books, 'The Ongoing Moment', a superb meditation on photography. In the meantime, savour this book for its melancholy, its troubled nostalgia, its longing to be somewhere else, and not least for its hilarious account of the author attempting to change out of his wet trousers in the toilet of a cafe in Amsterdam while very, very stoned - possibly the funniest two pages of English literature I have ever read.
Some of the pieces are very amusing (as also promised by reviewers quoted on the cover - for example the author's account of putting on new trousers inside out and later 'inside in'), and the way of life has some interest. Overall, though, I thought this was a mixed bag, with the final piece about the Black Rock festival failing to engage at least this reader - I'd rather have seen the pieces through in chronological order, though I can see that considerable effort has gone into melding occasional pieces of journalism into a coherent reading experience as a book.
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On the front cover in bold lettering, directly in centre page it categorically declares that the book you have just picked up is "Screamingly Funny by Maggie...Read more