Working the Room: Essays and Reviews 1999-2010

“Not just an education but a joy”, Zadie Smith on Working the Room, Geoff Dyer’s collection of essays from 1999-2010.”

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Working the Room: Essays and Reviews 1999-2010

‘The whole thing is bliss. I urge it on you,’ Sam Leith, Spectator

‘Shrewd, funny, original,’ Andrew Motion, Observer

‘One of the cleverest and funniest British writers currently drawing breath… A supremely good collection,’ Dazed and Confused

Across ten years’ worth of essays, Working the Room spans the photography of Martin Parr and the paintings of Turner, the writing of Scott Fitzgerald and the criticism of Susan Sontag, and includes extensive personal pieces – ‘On Being an Only Child’, ‘Sacked’ and ‘Reader’s Block’ among many others. Dyer’s breadth of vision and generosity of spirit combine to form a manual for ways of being in – and seeing – the world today.

“A writer who resists categorization… His work is illusory yet real, funny but serious.” GQ

“Dyer is a witty and concise observer of landscapes: social, geographical and emotional… His eccentric charm and barbed perceptiveness will hook you to the end.” The Times

“If I imagine Dyer’s authorial voice thrown into my inner ear, it sounds calm and supremely well-mannered. In part this is what makes him such a good comic writer – his deadpan is effortless, he never corpses… I had no difficulty in lapping up page after paragraph of this fare; Dyer writes engagingly on everything from his love of doughnuts to his sequested working class childhood in Swindon, and so I found myself sitting up later than intended, keeping up a mantra of agreement – um, yes, I suppose so – punctuated by the occasional bray of laughter.” Will Self, Financial Times

“Geoff Dyer is a true original – one of those rare voices in contemporary literature that never ceases to surprise, disturb and delight. Risky, breathtakingly candid, intellectual, cool, outrageous, laconic and sometimes shocking, Geoff Dyer is a must-read for our confused and perplexing times.” William Boyd

Published in paperback, August 2011. First published in hardback: UK, Canongate, 2010

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The Blurb



From “one of our most original writers” (Kathryn Schulz, New York magazine) comes an expansive and exacting book—firmly grounded, but elegant, witty, and always inquisitive—about travel, unexpected awareness, and the questions we ask when we step outside ourselves.

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Forewords & Afterwords

In 1922, F. Scott Fitzgerald announced his decision to write “something new–something extraordinary and beautiful and simple + intricately patterned.” That extraordinary, beautiful, intricately patterned, and above all, simple novel […]

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As Editor

This collection of writings on photography by one of the most internationally influential writers of the past fifty years has been edited by Geoff Dyer who has also written an introduction to the book.

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