In the latest London Review of Books, Geoff Dyer writes about moving to Venice Beach and, shortly thereafter, having a stroke:
. . . I bent down to push some rubbish into the already stuffed bin. When I stood up half the world had disappeared. It had disappeared but it was still there, sort of. The kitchen wall was visible but it didn’t seem quite right: familiar but changed, as happens in dreams. Ah, now here was something I recognised: a strip of brown wood against the pale yellow wall. It was the frame of the mirror: I was looking into a mirror but, like a vampire, I couldn’t see my reflection. The mirror had become a window, but all that could be seen in this window was the wall on the other side of the room, behind me or behind where I used to be. Where had I gone?
The piece is brilliant—funny and sad, and frightening, too. Also, apparently Dyer is/was something of a pastry addict?
And because there can never be enough Geoff Dyer on the Internet, the Paris Review’s must-read Art of Non-Fiction No. 6 (from the Winter 2013 issue) is now online. Dyer takes issue with the classification of his work—the division between fiction and non-fiction—because, as he says, “It’s just a bunch of books.” He talks about writing, travelling, drugs, and disliking the term “creative nonfiction”:
David Hare said that the two most depressing words in the English language are literary fiction. I couldn’t agree more. But we might soon have to add that the two most depressing words in the American language are creative nonfiction. If creative nonfiction means stuff like that Sheila Heti book,1 then give me straight-down-the-line, non-creative history books any day. I’m not interested in creative nonfiction, and I’m not interested in literary fiction. I’m interested in great books—which come in different shapes and forms now, many more than were previously admitted. My objection is to people in the novelists’ camp with their unquestioned assumption that the novel, irrespective of the quality of a given instance of it, is somehow superior.
Small quibble, even though Dyer’s talking about the fuzziness of nomenclature anyway: Wasn’t this a novel? ↩