From one of Britain’s most original writers, White Sands is a creative exploration of why we travel. Episodic, wide-ranging, funny and smart, the linked journeys recall the themes of Dyer’s Yoga for People Who Can’t Be Bothered to Do It––albeit with the wisdom of (middle) age.
From a trip to the Lightning Field in New Mexico to chasing Gauguin’s ghost in French Polynesia, from falling for someone who may or may not be a tour guide in Beijing’s Forbidden City to tracking down the house of an intellectual hero in Los Angeles, Dyer pursues all permutations of the peak experience––including the trough experience.
In his trademark style he blends travel writing, essay, criticism and fiction with a smart and cantankerous wit that is unmatched. This is a book for armchair travellers and procrastinating philosophers everywhere.
Geoff Dyer is the author of Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi and three previous novels, as well as nine non-fiction books. He has won the Somerset Maugham Prize, the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction, a Lannan Literary Award, the International Centre of Photography's 2006 Infinity Award for writing on photography, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters E.M. Forster Award. In 2009 he was named GQ’s Writer of the Year. He won a National Book Critics Circle Award in 2011 and was a finalist in 1998. In 2015 he won a Windham Campbell Award for Non-fiction and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His books have been translated into more than twenty languages. Dyer currently lives in Los Angeles where he is a writer-in-residence at the University of Southern California. His most recent book is White Sands: Experiences from the Outside World.
‘One of the funniest writers working today.’ Australian Book Review
‘Geoff Dyer is a true original–one of those rare voices in contemporary literature that never ceases to surprise, disturb and delight.’ William Boyd
‘Reading Dyer is akin to the sudden elation and optimism you feel when you make a new friend, someone as silly as you but cleverer too, in whose company you know you will travel though life more vagrantly, intensely, joyfully…Quite possibly the best living writer in Britain.’ Daily Telegraph (UK)
‘Dyer is more than a cult writer; he’s a virus, invading your system. You look at things differently, embracing the idiosyncratic, keeping the obvious at bay.’ Spectator
‘Among the most original and talented writers of his generation.’ Independent on Sunday
‘Dyer is compared to Proust, Lawrence and Kingsley Amis. The praise is deserved.’ Evening Standard
‘Expect customary wit and insight…Likely the literary travel event of the year.’ Bookseller
"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.