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But Beautiful

“May be the best book ever written about jazz.” David Thomson, Los Angeles Times

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But Beautiful

“Achingly gorgeous… evokes the lives of working musicians so that you taste the whiskey, smell the stubbed cigarettes, hear the gentle clicking of the valves, the coughs, and shuffling feet between studio takes.” Jonathan Lethem

“Drawing on how he hears the music of the people like Mingus, Monk, Bud Powell, Art Pepper, and on key photos of them, Dyer has constructed eight variations like highly concentrated novels, 80 per cent proof swigs of fiction. The result, I think, is brilliant… His attempts to recreate the drug-fogged, music-drenched, reality-melting, racism-crazed insides of the minds of people like Powell, Mingus, Webster and Chet Baker are unnervingly effective.” Miles Kington, Independent on Sunday

“The only book about jazz that I recommend to my friends. It is a little gem.” Keith Jarrett

“Beautiful… An ingenious and brilliantly written book. Even readers not fascinated by jazz above other kinds of music are likely to find Mr Dyer too good a literary craftsman to put the book down… About as intricate a mixture of biographical essay and make-believe as is likely to be written.” New York Times

But Beautiful is just that, a moving and highly original tribute to Black American music.” Bryan Ferry

“A gorgeous and lyrical collection of nocturnal jazz reveries.” The New Yorker

“Music from the inside out… His prose takes on so much momentum that you utterly forget to wonder if what you’re reading about happened… Dyer can get to places few writers on music know exist.” Greil Marcus, Interview

“Swings Geoff Dyer straight into the front line of writers . . . whose books are imbued with the spirit and techniques of jazz . . . voices deep love and understanding of the musicians evoked with appropriate poetic image and sound effects.” Michael Horovitz, The Times

“Dyer emerges at once as a considerable jazz scholar; hardly less impressive is the supple prose which fleshes out known facts and myths and brings his subjects vibrantly alive… This is a book I shall return to again and again.” Jazz Journal International

“Dyer turns jazz in to poetry and his subjects into a beautiful sad music… Few will be unmoved by his passion and eloquence.” Washington Post

Winner of the Somerset Maugham Prize, shortlisted for the Mail on Sunday / John Llewellyn Rhys Memorial Prize.

First published: UK, Cape 1991; US, FSG, 1996

Current paperback editions: UK, Canongate; UK, Picador

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Books

‘Few books about film feel like watching a film, but this one does. We sit with Dyer as he writes about Stalker, he captures its mystery and burnish, he prises it open and gets its glum majesty. As a result of this book, I know the film better, and care about Tarkovsky even more.’ Mark Cousins, author of THE STORY OF FILM

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Forewords & Afterwords

Geoff Dyer introduces this survey of Jacob Holdt’s photographs of America in the 1970s.

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As Editor

When William Gedney died in 1989 at the age of 56 he was little known except to a few colleagues and curators. This book, co-edited by Geoff Dyer, reveals Gedney’s remarkable photographs as well as writings by him.

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