Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi
Every two years the international art world descends on Venice for the opening of the Biennale. Among them is Jeff Atman–a jaded and dissolute journalist–whose dedication to the cause of Bellini-fuelled partygoing is only intermittently disturbed by the obligation to file a story. When he meets the spell...more
The book is really two separate novellas: the first is the story of Jeff Atman, an aimless middle rung journalist in London who is assigned to cover the Venice Binneale to a ‘scoop’ interview around a story of prized nude photograph of a singer?
The action moves to very ‘otter’ than ever before Venice. Jeff, portrayed as somewhat of an outsider at the international art scene, trudges...more
It's certainly a very interesting literary exercise. The 2 parts are so different, and yet the links are there. In the second part, I felt like I was reading a totally different book that was eerily linked in various ways to a book I'd read earlier. So it's very interesting, and the main character in each part is tot...more
The first story is about journalists and artists attendi...more
It's a book in two halves which are, to me, in no way connected, other than the same bloke is in both of them.
The Venice half is ok, at least there's a plot (man drinks, man meets woman, man and woman have sex, do drugs and get drunk, woman leaves). In the second half of the book, in Varanasi, it's just the bloke, wandering aimlessly around, describing the filth and pe...more
Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi is like a novel with a cleaved spine. Trying to match the two halves takes some reader effort. The first half is a third-person account which follows Jeff Atman, an anxious, unhappy freelance journalist, as he goes to Venice to cover the Biennale art show. However, as for most of the attendees, it's an excuse to party, swill some Bellinis, and see and be seen. Jeff's trip is significantly enhanced by meeting Laura, an American woman, with whom he as a Bienale-lo...more
Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi is a novel in two parts, just like the title. Having read many stories of the author's own adventures abroad, I recognized...more
At first, Dyer’s prose didn't stick to my ribs, it stuck in my throat.
In the end, I find Dyer's style a bit too pleased with its own cuteness (are middle-aged men called twee?). If Martin Amis, or even Hornby, wrote himself into a travel diary (in the vein of 'Under the Tuscan Sun'), this is what it would be.
“Jeff” is a writer who hates writing, a Londoner who hates London, an art aficionado professionally bored with the art world. You would think it’s right up my alley.
The good: Prose with g...more
Some of my favorite lines include:
"Dying is an art like everything else. We do it exceptionally well. We do it so it looks real." and that is how the author covers his grey-like Sylvia Plath
Also after much waiting for so many things, "At what point would the longing for things to be over be over so that he could res...more
Anyway, this book c...more
Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi was recommended to me by an old school friend. (To be clear: the school is old. She isn’t). And I hated it. Awkward, as they say on Twitter.
It was, I thought, so to speak, not so much Uttar Pradesh as Utter Rubbish. I had such a strong allergic reaction to Geoff Dyer I had to get a friend staying in a nearby chalet to rush three Kate Atkinson novels over as an antidote.
To be fair to my school friend (sh...more
I wouldn't say it's a great novel but I enjoyed reading it. I've been to Venice 4 times and it's such a memorable place that even without a map at hand I could follow the local place names.
It's like two separate novels but the second is informed by Jeff's experience in Venice. He's not named in "Death in Varanasi" but it's clearly the same character - a slightl...more
It's made up of two arguably unrelated sections, one a four day stint in Venice that feels fictionalized and then a second in Varanasi that goes on longer (months, maybe?) that feels more like a travelogue. That second Varanasi section reads a lot like the essays in _Yoga_ but kind of wanders, lacking the clear point of some of those shorter pieces...more
A play on Thomas Mann's novella Death in Venice (1912), about a middle-aged male writer who seeks spiritual enlightenment in Venice but instead finds carnal doom in a young boy, Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi is many things at once: a detailed, entertaining, travelogue; a philosophical treatise on mortality, materialism, and spirituality; and an inquiry into the nature of self. Dyer's "deceptively straightforward tale" (Oregonian)óinfluenced by Nietzsche, Roland Barthes, John Berger, and othe...more
The structure was very strange: the first half of the book follows the protagonist, a British journalist, to Venice, where he covers the B...more
And I found the book captivating all the way through to the end. Jeff has a fairly decadent life (single, aimless, likes women and drugs) as an art critic. Covering the Venice Beinnale, he meets a beautiful female counterpart i...more
He is the author of four novels: Paris Trance, The Search, The Colour of Memory, and, most recently, Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi; a critical study of John Berger, Ways of Telling; two c...more