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BookPeople is proud to partner with the Austin American-Statesman for their monthly Statesman Selects program. Each month, BookPeople will highlight the Statesman’s top recommended read for Austin. May's pick is White Sands: Experiences from the Outside World by Geoff Dyer. Dyer will join us here at BookPeople Thursday, May 19 at 7PM to speak and sign his book. Pick up a copy of the Statesman on Sunday, May 15 to read their review of the book!
From one of our most original writers (Kathryn Schulz, "New York" magazine) comes an expansive and exacting book firmly grounded but elegant, often hilarious, and always inquisitive about travel, unexpected awareness, and the questions we ask when we step outside ourselves.
Geoff Dyer s restless search "for what? "is unclear, even to him continues in this series of fascinating adventures and pilgrimages: with a tour guide who may not be a tour guide in the Forbidden City in Beijing; with friends in New Mexico, where D. H. Lawrence famously claimed to have had his greatest experience from the outside world; with a hitchhiker picked up on the way from White Sands; with Don Cherry (or a photo of him, at any rate) at the Watts Towers in Los Angeles.
Weaving stories about places to which he has recently traveled with images and memories that have persisted since childhood, Dyer tries to work out 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.
"Dyer's virtue is not the whole-hearted embrace of experience and exotic locales but the parsing of degrees of disappointment. He also doesn't pretend to be heading anywhere, but then White Sands turns into a memoir and becomes unexpectedly moving. Dyer's tone as he relates his frightening brush with tragedy is calm and full of curiosity, possibly as a result of eschewing drama for his entire life. White Sands is a short book, brisk, hard to take and worth the attempt, just the sort of paradox Dyer most enjoys." --Jane Smiley, Los Angeles Times
"With philosophical incisiveness, Dyer extols the virtue of landscape to conjure in himself the tangible and the mirage, the real and the illusion, the possessed object and the desired object. There is an undeniable joy throughout Dyer's writing, an affirmation that travel and the experience of place not merely being someplace, but being present in it is a gateway to the humanity of past, present, and future. A mesmerizing compendium that reflects on time, place, and just what, exactly, we are doing here." --Kirkus *starred review*
Geoff Dyer is the author of many books including But Beautiful (winner of the Somerset Maugham Prize); The Missing of the Somme; Out of Sheer Rage; The Ongoing Moment (winner of the ICP Infinity Award); Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi; Zona; Yoga for People Who Can't Be Bothered to Do It; and, most recently, Another Great Day at Sea. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, his many awards include the GQ Writer of the Year Award, the E. M. Forster Award, a Lannan Literary Fellowship, a National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism, and a 2015 Windham-Campbell Prize. Also in 2015, Dyer was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His books have been translated into twenty-four languages. He is writer in residence at USC and lives in Venice, California.