White Sands: Experiences from the Outside World

White Sands Experiences from the Outside World From one of our most original writers Kathryn Schulz comes an expansive and exacting book firmly grounded but elegant witty and always inquisitive about travel unexpected awareness and the questi

  • Title: White Sands: Experiences from the Outside World
  • Author: Geoff Dyer
  • ISBN: 9781101870853
  • Page: 392
  • Format: Hardcover
  • From one of our most original writers Kathryn Schulz comes an expansive and exacting book firmly grounded, but elegant, witty, and always inquisitive about travel, unexpected awareness, and the questions we ask when we step outside ourselves.Geoff Dyer s perennial search for tranquility, for something better, continues in this series of fascinating and seemingly unFrom one of our most original writers Kathryn Schulz comes an expansive and exacting book firmly grounded, but elegant, witty, and always inquisitive about travel, unexpected awareness, and the questions we ask when we step outside ourselves.Geoff Dyer s perennial search for tranquility, for something better, continues in this series of fascinating and seemingly unrelated pilgrimages with a tour guide who is in fact not a tour guide at the Forbidden City in Beijing, with friends at the Lightning Field in New Mexico, with a hitchhiker picked up near a prison at White Sands, and with a dream of how things should have been 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 He takes his title from Gaugin s masterwork, and asks the same questions Where do we come from, what are we, where are we going The answers are elusive, hiding in French Polynesia, where he travels to write about Gaugin and the lure of the exotic at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, where he goes to see the masterpiece in person only to be told it is traveling and in Norway, where he and his wife journey to see, but end up not seeing, the Northern Lights But at home in California, after a medical event that makes Dyer see everything in a different way, he may finally have found what he s been searching for.

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    1. BOTWbbc/programmes/b07h6fmfDescription: Many people love the books of Geoff Dyer (and author William Boyd calls him 'a true original'); be they novels, ruminations or travel essays. White Sands is his latest travel book and today he writes about his new home in Los Angeles and makes a pilgrimage to visit the house of an intellectual hero. With characteristic wit and a keen eye for detail, he writes beautifully about place and always acknowledges that travel can be as much about disappointment as [...]

    2. His visits to Tahiti, China, the Northern Lights, archeological sites of wonder is to-experience. Experience himself reacting to the site. So that in the end he hopes to find himself through this experience of his experiences. Thus he winds up where he started but before was not aware. The villain though at times is the experience being diluted by tourism and commercialism, the corrosive passing of time. Yet sometimes the experience of having no experience or at least not knowing it is weighted [...]

    3. premessa importante: NON è un libro di viaggio.Ci ho messo un po' a capirlo, e all'inizio mi piaceva pochissimo. Poi, compreso che i viaggi sono solo un espediente per parlare di altro, l'ho trovato brillante, intelligente, colto, autoironico, britannico.L'unico fastidio: rendermi conto del pozzo della mia ignoranza. Più di una volta ho dovuto far ricorso a o a google images per capire di cosa si stesse parlando (voi lo sapete per esempio chi era Sabato Rodia? Senza googlare eh! Ditemi di no [...]

    4. I have a really hard time giving up books I've started, but White Sands has me pulling the plug with 40 pages left to go. I always feel guilty abandoning a book, especially now that there is so little left to read, and yet I have to admit that there's better stuff on my shelves beckoning to me while I sit here (mostly) not enjoying this book. I've come to the point in my reading that I can tell when an author has failed to win me over and getting to the finish line is nothing more than an exerci [...]

    5. This book of incredibly written travel essays (and some other meditations thrown in there) deal with the essential question: Why do we travel? Some other, perhaps even more appropriate questions also arise as a result of traveling: How did we get here? And why did we come? That one, most often asked when things fall apart (see Dyer's essay on traveling in the middle of winter to Norway to see the Northern Lights).Just one of so many quotes I've underlined in this book was the following, which ap [...]

    6. In this series of ten essays, Geoff Dyer explores the reasons why we travel using examples from the excursions that he makes. He travels to China to see the Forbidden City in Beijing where he starts to become besotted with his guide there. From his home-town of Los Angeles, he makes a pilgrimage to visit the residence of TW Adorno and the art that is the Watts Towers. There is a trip to Mexico to visit the art installation of Walter De Maria called The Lightning Field and the amazing Spiral Jett [...]

    7. Definitely not his best work, but still better than most when it comes to essays. The thing about Dyer that generally makes him irresistible is he puts his own self in his work, his personality, his thoughts and ideas. But this collection was missing, for the most part, Geoff Dyer. Not until the last two essays does the Brit show up in the way I am accustomed to. The second to last essay about the history and his visiting The Watts Towers in Los Angeles was one of his best he has written, and th [...]

    8. Dyer’s a bit of a pill in his fussy, English way, and his initial eagerness to pluck himself up by the roots and thrust himself into alien environments is almost always a prelude to sustained passages of spirited whinging. (Flustered and querulous, like a duck who’s been awakened in the middle of a really cool dream about wet bread, it’s as if he’s forever unaware that there is no exact antonym in the language for “disappointment.”) But bearing witness as Dyer’s enthusiasms atrophy [...]

    9. From BBc Radio 4 - Book of the Week:Many people love the books of Geoff Dyer (and author William Boyd calls him 'a true original'); be they novels, ruminations or travel essays. White Sands is his latest travel book and today he writes about his new home in Los Angeles and makes a pilgrimage to visit the house of an intellectual hero. With characteristic wit and a keen eye for detail, he writes beautifully about place and always acknowledges that travel can be as much about disappointment as it [...]

    10. "Travel and travellers are two things I loathe - and yet, her I am, all set to tell the story of my expeditions.'' - Claude Levi-Strauss, "Triste Tropiques.''I agree. Travel writing is generally a category I make a point of avoiding; even thinking about it makes me feel tired.On the other hand, Dyer is one of my favorite writers. He does not disappoint here; principally because he's not really writing about "destinations' but about his own ongoing attempt to come to grips - sometimes hilariously [...]

    11. Some pretty comical recounts of travels spent on an assortment of odd pilgrimages: to Tahiti to search for Gauguin, to the Watts Towers in L.A. to further appreciate a Don Cherry album cover, to Svalbard to see the Northern Lights. We know right away that Dyer isn't necessarily going to find what he's looking for, but by joining him on his farces we find some wonderful moments of insight about what it means to travel and search and wonder and never find quite what we expect. Is it worth it for D [...]

    12. 3.5 stars really.The opening almost light-hearted tone was surprising and welcome. Previous experience of Dyers’ work has made me wary of his self-proclaimed intellectualism, but this is a good read. The piece on the northern lights made me laugh out loud in recognition - not of the northern lights, but of the feeling of being somewhere you’d wanted to go and then dealing with the disappointment with a kind of petulance. “Pilgrimage” is fascinating - Adorno and Sontag - and makes me want [...]

    13. Al principio sorprende porque Geoff Dyer no es un escritor de viajes al uso ni sus destinos tampoco lo son. No se deleita. No finge.Arenas Blancas comprende nueve visitas. En una de ellas viaja con su mujer al norte de Noruega para ver una aurora boreal. Su cachondeo sobre la eterna noche oscura (del alma) es tan irreverente que puede llegar a provocar un ligero rechazo.Dyer es verborreico, culto, jazzístico y bombardea con mil referencias. Es estimulante. Divertido.Arenas Blancas tiene algo m [...]

    14. If you've never read Geoff Dyer, you are missing out. This book has Dyer visiting great spots for travelers, but if you are thinking the Grand Canyon and the Eiffel Tower, you are way, way off. Dyer takes you to places you'd never think of yourself and shares his odd random thoughts along the way, thoughts you'd never think of yourself. It's nevertheless a fun trip.

    15. I've had Geoff Dyer on my radar screen for quite a while (I own two other of his 18+ books, Out of Sheer Rage and Yoga for People Who Can't Be Bothered to Do It, though they are packed away somewhere at the moment). I'm not even sure how this one came into my hands, but it proved a thoroughly enjoyable— thoughtful, funny, sympathetic —dinnertime companion for me this last week as I slaved away at a book arts/metalwork workshop in the Gold Country of California. The dinner break was my down t [...]

    16. I picked this up because I’d read a very funny, wry essay Geoff Dyer had written about not having – and never wanting – children. Of course I expected White Sands would be different: it’s travel writing. But hey, I love travel, so I thought there was a good chance I’d love travel writing by this clever, self-aware Brit. Turns out, I didn’t, perhaps not least because this isn’t travel writing, not really. Much of the time, it’s about how Dyer is not having a good time in the locat [...]

    17. The problem with reading any Geoff Dyer book is that even when you ration it, it eventually ends, and you can't possibly un-read it and have the pleasure of reading it for the first time again. This is a book of his odd genre-bending essays and short stories (no, he doesn't tell you which is which), and the best thing he's written in a good chunk of years. Stand-out stories include a travel essay about trying to see the Northern Lights (he doesn't) and an essay about his recent minor stroke (he' [...]

    18. Oh dear. I have tried to read this book slowly in order to savour the time spent in the company of Mr Dyer - whom the Telegraph has described as "possibly the best living writer in Britain ". Now leaving aside the fact that Dyer now lives in America I find myself for the first time agreeing with the Telegraph. Except that he is definitely the best living British writer. Notice I didn't say novelist. Writer. Who else writes such interesting books on such a wide range of topics? Nobody. I had a fe [...]

    19. Dyer's self-deprecating sense of humor and sleight-of-hand style combine for a meditation on space (in the sense of location vice vacuum) in which he proclaims to never arrive, or at least to be satisfied in the arrival, but exactly pins the sense of it anyway. In his essays, Dyer builds Jenga towers from stream-of-consciousness paragraphs and then, without flourish, steps back at the end to reveal a construction with a German's precision of engineering. The net effect is both a joy to read and [...]

    20. Geoff Dyer is a slacker adventurer, seemingly always out in search of new experiences or cultural oddities, and viewing them from a slightly cockeyed angle. I've read, and enjoyed, his fiction and non-fiction, especially Out of Sheer Rage, his attempt to write a biography of D.H. Lawrence, and his previous collection of essays and reviews, Otherwise Known as the Human Condition. This book was not quite up to the level of that previous work. Most of these essays center on some offbeat tourist exp [...]

    21. Alternate titles to this thing."Plastic Emotions and Devotions""You're Alright, I'm Alright - Let's Hug""The Book of Trite""Hope is a Four Letter Word""A Traveler's Guide to Generic Inspiration""The Smiley Face Collection""Happy Dance Your Life, Just Try!""Nobody Likes the Sad Clown""The Hackneyed Days""Joy isn't Just a Woman's Name!""Yay! We're Not Insane, the World Is!"Chris Roberts

    22. Not every essay in this collection on travel is great, but the gems here make the book worth reading. Dyer is a human Hoover vacuum of ideas, art, music, and he loves to make multiple connections among all of these realms as he writes about his experiences. He can strike a wide range of moods, and can be charmingly self effacing. His misadventure with his wife to see the northern lights in the arctic titled "Northern Dark" had me crying with laughter.

    23. Not of the same quality as "Yoga for People" He is still very witty and insightful but he doesn't keep it coming at the same pace that he did before.

    24. The stories in White Sands find Geoff Dyer on journeys in various parts of the world: on a book tour in China, researching Gaugin in Tahiti, reflecting on “The Lightning Field” in New Mexico, making a pilgrimage to Theodore Adorno’s house and contemplating the Watts Towers in Los Angeles. Each piece is preceded by a brief prologue relating to the author’s past that provides an associative context for the story that follows.Dyer doesn’t just travel. He’s a writer who probes the experi [...]

    25. White Sands is a collection of essays that try hard to come together as a coherent book. Some are short travel anecdotes, examining places that are either too touristic to be anything or too artistic to be objective and needing a critical analysis from a cultured person like Geoff Dyer. I liked these the most, since they were both teaching something about places I probably will never visit and also showing the sarcastic internal thoughts of the author, complete with interesting references and in [...]

    26. I like Dyer, like his fiction, like his travel writing, especially like his masterful book on the Great War. But I’m less impressed, in fact profoundly unimpressed, when he starts writing about jazz. Even when he’s not writing about jazz, not directly, but referring to it tangentially as in White Sands (towards the end) you become aware of how futile it is to try and write about jazz at all. Dyer’s not alone in this, of course. Larkin achieved some memorable prose phrases in his Telegraph [...]

    27. I absolutely LOVE the two Geoff Dyer novels I've read (The Colour of Memory and Paris Trance), and I love traveling, so when I heard he wrote a travelogue I was pretty excited. Ultimately this is just okay; he goes to a few exotic places but mostly this is just he and his wife cruising around the southwestern U.S.Highlights - Northern Dark, a story about going to Norway to see the Northern Lights and ultimately failing to do so (which makes Norway and the idea of this trip both sound awful, in a [...]

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