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Preview — Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi by Geoff Dyer
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
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
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
Anyway, this book c ...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
The first story is about journalists and artists attendi ...more
Things slow down (or are less racy, at least) as we head to India for some travel writing about dirt, poverty, disease, and Hin ...more
If I compare this funny novel to, say, the one I’m reading right now, Marina Lewycka’s We Are All Made of Glue, I can’t say I was laughing as loudly.
The book is divided into two sections, and they can be so disparate that you can take them as two novellas. The first has the main character Jeff travelling to Venice to d ...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 is a love story about a writer (Jeff, Geoff?) enjoying the Venice Biennial who has a love afair, the love of his life? Maybe. His description of Venice, the global art scene and the arty people who enjoy the finer things in life (in othe ...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 a novel in two parts, just like the title. Having read many stories of the author's own adventures abroad, I recognized ...more