Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi by Geoff Dyer
A Novel

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Synopsis

A New York Times Notable Book

A Best Book of the Year: The Economist, The New Yorker, San Francisco Chronicle, Slate.com, and Time

In Venice, at the Biennale, a jaded, bellini-swigging journalist named Jeff Atman meets a beautiful woman and they embark on a passionate affair.

In Varanasi, an unnamed journalist (who may or may not be Jeff) joins thousands of pilgrims on the banks of the holy Ganges. He intends to stay for a few days but ends up remaining for months. 

Their journey—as only the irrepressibly entertaining Geoff Dyer could conjure—makes for an uproarious, fiendishly inventive novel of Italy and India, longing and lust, and the prospect of neurotic enlightenment.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
 

About Geoff Dyer

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Geoff Dyer is the author of four novels (most recently Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi); a critical study of John Berger; a collection of essays, Otherwise Known as the Human Condition; and five highly original nonfiction books, including But Beautiful, which was awarded the Somerset Maugham Prize, and Out of Sheer Rage, a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist. He lives in London.
 
Published April 3, 2009 by Vintage. 305 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Humor & Entertainment. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi

The New York Times

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The hero of this haunting and fearless novel moves from self-indulgence to the dissolution of self.

Apr 19 2009 | Read Full Review of Jeff in Venice, Death in Vara...

The Guardian

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It works so well precisely because he left it far too long to write the book that he originally wanted to write - a serious critique - that he ended up with an extremely funny and arguably even more serious book about the deadening effects on literature of the kind of leaden critical theory he ha...

Mar 20 2009 | Read Full Review of Jeff in Venice, Death in Vara...

The Guardian

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Dyer, or, rather, Jeff (Dyer makes a point of distancing himself from Jeff's critical opinions in an end note), manages to find meaning in contemporary art without falling into the emperor's new clothes trap: "The work may have been puerile, but the hunger to succeed of which it was the product a...

Mar 29 2009 | Read Full Review of Jeff in Venice, Death in Vara...

BC Books

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Death in Varansi is so focused on its setting, that the first half of it could pass as non-fiction, akin to those fussy literary travelogues by Naipaul or Theroux.

Apr 07 2009 | Read Full Review of Jeff in Venice, Death in Vara...

BC Books

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The protagonist of our first story is so caught up in his own neediness and neuroses that he hardly pays attention to the world around him—from the very start of the story, the reader knows that Jeff will bungle his journalistic assignment in Venice and is simply waiting to find out the particulars.

Apr 07 2009 | Read Full Review of Jeff in Venice, Death in Vara...

Book Reporter

After polishing off the magazine piece that has brought him there, the narrator abandons any plan to return home, slowly adapting to the rituals and rhythms of the ancient city (“I’d come to Varanasi because there was nothing to keep me in London, and I stayed on for the same reason: because ther...

Jan 22 2011 | Read Full Review of Jeff in Venice, Death in Vara...

The Independent

Against all expectations – Jeff's included – this is a love story.

May 10 2009 | Read Full Review of Jeff in Venice, Death in Vara...

The Bookbag

Both sides have a strong interest in sensual life - art and sex, vivid exotica and diarrhoea.

Aug 07 2010 | Read Full Review of Jeff in Venice, Death in Vara...

Open Letters Monthly

It’s perfectly legitimate if reading a book occasionally makes you want to punch the author.

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Tampa Bay Times

Toward the end, the narrator has gone completely native, with a dhoti and bald head, losing all desire for worldly objects, even sex partners.
Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi is an interesting juxtaposition of two world views, refracted through the eyes of arguably the same person.

May 22 2009 | Read Full Review of Jeff in Venice, Death in Vara...

MostlyFiction Book Reviews

The main character of this novel, Jeff Attman, is a globe trotting art critic and journalist.

Aug 22 2009 | Read Full Review of Jeff in Venice, Death in Vara...

London Review of Books

Dyer, however, writes about it all the time, in his novel of 1980s Brixton and in the one set in Oberkampf in the 1990s, and in his photography book and in his jazz book, and in the one about John Berger he did in 1986, as he was starting out.

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Bookmarks Magazine

A play on Thomas Mann’s novella Death in Venice (1912), about a middle-aged male writer who seeks spiritual enlightenment in Venice but instead finds carnal doom in a young boy, Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi is many things at once: a detailed, entertaining, travelogue;

Apr 06 2009 | Read Full Review of Jeff in Venice, Death in Vara...

Reader Rating for Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi
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