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The Ongoing Moment


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About the Author

A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Geoff Dyer has received the Somerset Maugham Award, the E. M. Forster Award, a Lannan Literary Fellowship, a National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism, and, in 2015, the Windham Campbell Prize for non-fiction. The author of four novels and nine works of non-fiction, Dyer is writer in residence at the University of Southern California and lives in Los Angeles. His books have been translated into twenty-four languages.


Having already tackled jazz (But Beautiful) and D.H. Lawrence (Out of Sheer Rage), cultural critic Dyer now turns his intelligent and discriminating eye to photography. Essentially a fast-moving series of highly focused "close readings," his volume zeros in on the way "certain photographs serve as nodes, places where subjects initially considered distinct converge and merge." Thus Paul Strand's "Blind Woman, New York, 1916" leads Dyer not only to other photographs of the blind by Lewis Hine and Gary Winogrand, but also to a survey of different portraits of blind author Jorge Luis Borges and to a consideration of Walker Evans's SX-70 photographs. Like the great English critic John Berger (Ways of Seeing), whom Dyer wrote about in Ways of Telling, the author has a lively and dramatic sense of provocation. He declares, for instance, that William Eggleston's photographs look "like they were taken by a Martian who lost the ticket for his flight home and ended up working at a gun shop in a small town near Memphis." He also has a loose-limbed and mostly surefooted ability to balance a number of elements into a functioning whole. In an overcrowded field, Dyer's book is distinguished by an idiosyncratic and infectious enthusiasm. 8 pages color illus. not seen by PW. (Oct. 4) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

British novelist Dyer's first book on photography is an inspired, highly personal look at the medium. As a self-proclaimed nonphotographer who does not even own a camera, Dyer effortlessly blends and connects a range of ideas from the worlds of literature, philosophy, history, and the fine arts. Rich with associations and unique connections, his highly readable style is refreshingly idiosyncratic. The novelist does not limit himself to traditional categories of photo criticism. Dyer's intellectual stream of consciousness flows seamlessly through examples of such varied subjects as hats, park benches, doorways, and the blind through discussions of such varied writers and photographers as Robert Frank, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Diane Arbus, John Cheever, Emily Bront?, Francesca Woodman, Walker Evans, and William Wordsworth. Highly recommended.-Shauna Frischkorn, Millersville Univ., PA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

"Truly original. . . . A whole narrative of intensely felt and observed moments. . . . After reading it, life seems larger." --John Berger, Harper's Magazine"An ingenious journey through the history of photography." --Art Review"Dyer has the naturally generous impulse of a great storyteller." --The Boston Globe"A masterful meditation. . . in which great, often melancholy themes are raised with lightness and very dry humor." --Alain de Botton, Books of the Year, The Observer (London)"Surprising. . . . [Dyer] pulls off a string of shrewd, often original ideas about a group of artists whose work had until now seemed thoroughly digested." --The New York Times Book Review

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