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Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi

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  • Posted August 29, 2009

    I Also Recommend:


    I'm a big fan of Jeff Dyer, so when the book came out I rushed to the bookstore to buy it. After reading it, my feeling is a bit mixed. The book consists of two part; one set in Venice, and the other one in Varanasi. I loved the first half; it was fluid, daring, and filled with a certain jagged humor I love so much about Dyer's writing. But then, I got stumped by the second half. It was....boring, and seemed rather lost in the middle of nowhere. Or maybe because I'm from one of those Asian countries where cool westerners flocking to, Dyer's description of Vanarasi and it's way of life comes off as rather superficial to me. But still, I have no doubt that he's a very talented writer, and the book is well worth reading.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 22, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I'm a little confused by this one, but in a good way!

    This one is giving me mixed emotions... Which I think is a good thing.

    The story follows Jeff, a freelance art writer from London. Jeff travels to Venice to cover a festival, where he meets a woman. They have a whirl-wind romance fueled by booze and drugs. The second part of the story is kind of a mystery. The narrator ends up in Varanasi and ends up staying, presumably forever (but we don't ever really know). In Varanasi he undergoes changes, life altering "spiritual" changes. But again, the fruition to which these changes lead the narrator is unknown.

    I really liked the story, and although I felt the writing was a bit embellished I liked the writing also. My biggest complaint has nothing to do with the story whatsoever, rather it's the use of one very offensive word - the c word. I'm by no means a prude, quite frankly I could make a sailor blush, but there are a few words that even I won't mutter and the c word is one of them. I don't know why this bothered me so bad, but I actually had to put the book down for a while to let myself cool off. As I was reading the more I kept thinking about that word and the more upset I got. I know it's crazy, but it just bothered me.... Once I cooled off a bit I was able to read it without seething, I guess I was having a moment.

    I liked the wit that was apparent throughout the book. I think without the added wit the story would have been somewhat lacking. But the humor made me want to keep reading (after I got over the c word thing). Something that was a little odd, but was part of the mystery of the second part, was that the first part of the book is written in third person whereas the second part is written in first person. But again, there is so much mystery as to who the narrator is (presumably Jeff from the first part, but I'll let you make your own decision). Then the mystery as to if he ever returns home...

    I can't say I loved this book, but I think that it was good. I have never read anything that reminds me of this so I can't make any comparison. I liked it, but at times it kind of teetered on a thin line between brilliant and completely absurd.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted March 13, 2011

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    Posted February 28, 2010

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    Posted January 6, 2010

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