An extended meditation on late style and last works from “one of our greatest living critics” (Kathryn Schulz, New York).
How and when do artists and athletes know that their careers are coming to an end? What if the end comes early in a writer’s life? How to keep going even as the ability to do so diminishes? In this ingeniously structured meditation, Geoff Dyer sets his own encounter with late middle age against the last days and last works of writers, painters, musicians, and sports stars who’ve mattered to him throughout his life. With playful charm and penetrating intelligence, he considers Friedrich Nietzsche’s breakdown in Turin, Bob Dylan’s reinventions of old songs, J. M. W. Turner’s proto-abstract paintings of blazing light, Jean Rhys’s late-life resurgence, John Coltrane’s final works.
Ranging from Burning Man to Beethoven, from Eve Babitz to William Basinski, from Annie Dillard to De Chirico, Dyer’s study of last things is also a book about how to go on living with art and beauty — and the sudden rejuvenation offered by books, films and music discovered late in life. Praised by Steve Martin for his “hilarious tics” and by Tom Bissell as “perhaps the most bafflingly great prose writer at work in the English language today,” Dyer has now blended criticism, memoir, and badinage of the most serious kind into something entirely new. The Last Days of Roger Federer is a summation of Dyer’s passions, and the perfect introduction to his sly and joyous work.
The Last Days of Roger Federer is published by Canongate in June 2022 (UK).