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

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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