“The sand is made of gypsum—whatever that is—and is as bright as newfallen snow. Brighter, actually. It’s really quite unbelievable that anything can be so bright”
In the spirit of Yoga For People Who Can’t Be Bothered To Do It, his critically acclaimed collection of travel writing, Geoff Dyer is back on the road
‘It seems certain that the apple in Eden grew on the tree of knowledge of elsewhere. Up until that point Adam and Eve were happy where they were. Then they ate the apple and it was slightly disappointing to them and they started to wonder if maybe there were other kinds of apples elsewhere, if there were crunchier and crisper and sweeter apples to be had from somewhere else. They began to think that there might be a funner place, where the food was better. They even began to suspect that paradise itself might be somewhere else … From there, to keep the history of the world as brief as possible, it is only a small step to package cruises and supermarkets stocking the full spectrum of exotic fruit.’
Taking the form of ten journeys, White Sands is an exploration of why we travel from perhaps Britain’s greatest globetrotter. Episodic, wide-ranging, funny and smart, it marks a return to the subject of Dyer’s Yoga for People Who Can’t Be Bothered to Do It, albeit with the wisdom of age.
From viewing a lightning field in the Mexican desert by night, to chasing Gauguin’s ghost in French Polynesia, from falling in love with a tour guide in the Forbidden City of Beijing to tracking down the house of a childhood idol in LA, Dyer pursues all permutations of the peak experience, explores the voyage through time, and plumbs the effects of distance. In his trademark style he blends travel writing, essay, criticism and fiction with a smart and cantankerous wit that is unmatched. This is a book for armchair travellers and procrastinating philosophers everywhere.
“Brilliant … Dyer’s eyes miss nothing”
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“An examination of some of the most fundamental questions of life … Inspiring and informing”
“Even Chekhov might have envied Geoff Dyer’s talent … Almost perfect”
“[A] disregard for genre boundaries is a hallmark of his work, along with erudition, a brilliant use of language and irreverent humour … The nearest thing to White Sands in Dyer’s back catalogue is Yoga for People Who Can’t Be Bothered to Do It”
“Surpassingly eloquent … there’s no other writer quite like Dyer”
Geoff Dyer is the author of Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi and three previous novels, as well as nine non-fiction books. Dyer has won the Somerset Maugham Prize, the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction, a Lannan Literary Award, the International Center of Photography’s 2006 Infinity Award for writing on photography and the American Academy of Arts and Letters’ E.M. Forster Award. In 2009 he was named GQ’s Writer of the Year. He won a National Book Critics Circle Award in 2012 and was a finalist in 1998. In 2015 he received a Windham Campbell Prize for non-fiction. His books have been translated into twenty-four languages. He currently lives in Los Angeles where he is Writer in Residence at the University of Southern California.