Few writers seem to do facetious erudition with the obtrusively self-aggrandizing more completely than Geoff Dyer. This should make for an infuriating read, but instead it allows for an agreeable if trivial one. The problem is more one of the digressive leading to the arbitrary. At one moment in Zona Dyer talks of the room which is at the centre of the Zone, the place in which the three characters, the stalker, the writer and the professor are trying to reach, and where various wishes may come true. However, in a book on Stalker written thirty years later it seems an irrelevant remark. French poster for Stalker Andrei Tarkovsky,
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Few writers seem to do facetious erudition with the obtrusively self-aggrandizing more completely than Geoff Dyer. This should make for an infuriating read, but instead it allows for an agreeable if trivial one. The problem is more one of the digressive leading to the arbitrary.
At one moment in Zona Dyer talks of the room which is at the centre of the Zone, the place in which the three characters, the stalker, the writer and the professor are trying to reach, and where various wishes may come true. However, in a book on Stalker written thirty years later it seems an irrelevant remark. French poster for Stalker Andrei Tarkovsky, If Berger is a writer who so often offers provocative proximity, Dyer frequently practises instead superfluous associationism: making connections between things that add little to the understanding of the thing itself, but instead allude to the assumptions Dyer is making of his reader.
Does one not arrive at the trivialising? Dyer reverses this by asking us to trust the teller, as in Dyer, but mock the tale, or rather not so much mock it as half ignore it, with Dyer focusing on his own biography to the detriment of the film. But Dyer would rightly claim where a Grisham novel is decidedly generic, Zona is a book which has no recognizable place, and nevertheless is readable without all the generic codification of a pre-packaged best-seller.
Of course you are. In such instances writing resembles less an art or a craft than the oldest of professions. Very few people will be coming to a book on Stalker for details on the London house market, yet it is partly what keeps the book easygoing and relaxed. Dyer can write and he can entertain, but he seems to be confusing here the irrelevant with the irreverent.
All the more so when there is space for Clarkson, Brand and the Brixton property market. Yet the worst way is to speak of it frivolously, and just as one often feels Dyer confuses the irrelevant with the irreverent, so also lightness with frivolity. Perhaps even because of it. Yet at the same time it is the sort of book we need more of, books written by writers who do not feel obliged to devote many hours of their life to searching out every last word written on a film, but instead can feel free to roam over the text, picking out from it moments that illuminate their own thinking.
There are many films Dyer could write intelligently about, but just not, it seems, Stalker. Home Book Reviews. Stalker Andrei Tarkovsky,
Zona by Geoff Dyer: review
Look Inside. From a writer whose mastery encompasses fiction, criticism, and the fertile realm between the two, comes a new book that confirms his reputation for the unexpected. Zona is one of the most unusual books ever written about film, and about how art—whether a film by a Russian director or a book by one of our most gifted contemporary writers—can shape the way we see the world and how we make our way through it. Very funny and very personal. Dyer is an enormously seductive writer.
Zona: A Book About a Film About a Journey to a Room
The book is a discussion by Dyer of the film Stalker directed by Andrei Tarkovsky in The title is taken from the mysterious and enigmatic Zone which is a locus within the film itself. The work is based on a close, scene-by-scene reading with a large number of digressions, including autobiographical discussions such as the time and place where Dyer watched the film and observations of how his own perspective has changed over time - for example he declares that as he has aged he has grown less and less concerned with trying to find a definite answer to what the film as a whole 'means'. The first time that he saw the film was in his early 20s having just finished his education in English literature at Oxford University. In part, therefore, the work is a meditation on time and how it changes our perspective on the world as a whole and on particular cultural artefacts and works of art. This is apposite, since one of Tarkovsky's most central preoccupations was that of time he called his book on the process of making films Sculpting in Time.
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Zona by Geoff Dyer - review
Now a writer and TV host, he compiled a list of the most important things he'd learned from a seminar Hoberman had taught as a side gig at New York University. It contained a good deal of sound advice — "Watch for excess words. If there's a shorter word, use it"; "Vent your spleen. In criticism, it's better to be angry than depressed" — but the most basic and important message was this: "Plot synopses automatically ruin a review. Rightly or wrongly, the synopsis is regarded as one of the lowest forms of writing. Two-thirds of the way into Zona , his characteristically singular book about Andrei Tarkovsky's Stalker , Geoff Dyer declares: "There are few things I hate more than when someone, in an attempt to persuade me to see a film, starts summarising it. It's a surprising assertion — though less so if you're familiar with Dyer's books which, whether they're about jazz, the first world war or DH Lawrence, go out of their way to fuse form and content in arresting fashion — because Zona is one long movie summary, a shot-by-shot rewrite.