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
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I read Geoff Dyer's Paris Trance back in 2015 and absolutely loved it. It was then probably my favourite novel by a British writer. This was going great too, up until the point when Geoff dumped Jeff on another Continent. Although a novel, it felt more like two longish novellas featuring the same character. I much preferred the first story to the second.
But overall Paris Trance walked all over this.
I'd break it down like this -
Jeff in Venice: Parties. Beautiful women. Sex. Coke. A feeling of e ...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
A breezy, superficial book, a combination of the English mortification and fretting in "Bridget Jones's Diary" and ordinary travel journalism.
What is the value, for fiction, of detailed, immediate, lightly fictionalized, fairly accurate reporting of unusual places? This book is divided in two: I have never been to Varanasi, so that half struck me as having been transferred as quickly as possible from experience to fiction, as if the details of the place would ...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
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
The first story is about journalists and artists attendi ...more
Anyway, this book c ...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
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
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