Dyer started out with the intention of writing either a sober academic study of Lawrence or a novel based on his subject's life but couldn't seem to do either. The academic study, he realized, was really just an excuse to read Lawrence's work, and the novel never even acquired a rudimentary shape in his mind. Instead, he somehow convinced his publisher to pick up the tab for his lengthy globetrotting pilgrimage, which took him from Paris to Rome to Greece to Oxford--not to mention such Lawrentian hotspots as Taos and Mexico and San Francisco. The result is an extended, often hilarious, meditation on seafood, English TV, Dyer's own creative impulses, and occasionally even Lawrence.
In Lawrence's seminal prose he finds some justification for his own capricious indulgences: "What Lawrence's life demonstrates so powerfully is that it actually takes a daily effort to be free.... There are intervals of repose but there will never come a state of definitive rest where you can give up because you have turned freedom into a permanent condition. Freedom is always precarious." Yet he refuses to read Lawrence's novels, confining himself to letters, travel reportage, and other casuals. Indeed, "[o]ne gets so weary watching authors' sensations and thoughts get novelised, set into the concrete of fiction, that perhaps it is best to avoid the novel as a medium of expression."
Dyer's fascination with Lawrence's minorabilia suggests not only an oblique criticism of the contemporary novel, but a promising direction for the memoir. Perhaps clean, well-lighted subjectivity is a dead end, and the future lies with eccentric, provisional works along the lines of Flaubert's Parrot and How Proust Can Change Your Life--or Out of Sheer Rage. After all, Dyer's bright (and brilliantly shambolic) book of life reminds us of why we read in the first place: to see the surprising ways one person can be brought to life by another. --Michael Joseph Gross --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Another thing I liked about the book was its keen observations into human nature.
Dyer's persona is unpleasant - but that's not a criticism - some of the best ever characters in books are unpleasant so I didn't worry too much.
There are some writers one reads to escape, others one reads to engage; Geoff Dyer engages!
Read this book on recommendation thought it was clever how Dwyer told us about Lawrence in the disguise of procrastination. I struggled around 65% but made it to the end.Published 3 months ago by carole thomas
Whether you're laughing too hard, or whether you think you've read enough, keep reading.
Not interested in DH Lawrence? Keep reading.
The first page sums up my entire life. The book captures the insanity of the mental chatter we all succumb to on a daily basis but gives it such a humorous angle coming from dry... Read morePublished 19 months ago by R. Lee
I have heard people rave about Dyer's writing for years. He is beloved by many, many people I know who write and read passionately. Read morePublished on July 2, 2012 by Books McGoo
This is not a book about D H Lawrence. It's a book about Geoff Dyer. But all Geoff Dyer's books are about Geoff Dyer. Read morePublished on April 26, 2011 by Nabokoviette
This is one of the best books I've read in a long time. It's intelligent, original, surprising, witty, honest, and fresh. Read morePublished on April 21, 2011 by Thomas O'Riordan
Out of sheer honesty, I did not enjoy this book very much. The descriptions were tedious, and I thought a lot of supposedly humorous situations were overworked, becoming very... Read morePublished on July 12, 2010 by Lindsay M.
Dyer's quasi-treatise on D.H. Lawrence amused me to no end when I started reading it. Although the book's subtitle -- WRESTLING WITH D.H. Read morePublished on March 8, 2010 by Mark Eremite
If you like reading literary biographies or literary histories, you will be shocked and more than pleasantly surprised by Dyer's self-revealing look at D. H. Read morePublished on April 20, 2009 by Real Women Read