English author Geoff Dyer does not give up

The English writer Geoff Dyer, in Milan, in 2023. ISABELLA DE MADDALENA/OPALE.PHOTO

At the end of Last days of Roger Federer, Geoff Dyer formulates the hypothesis that his subject has always been the same: renunciation. That this theme haunts his four novels and sixteen works of non-fiction – two have been translated respectively (The Color of Memory, ed. Joëlle Losfeld, 1996, and See Venice, die in VaranasiDenoël, 2011) and three (before The Last Days of Roger Federerthere was Improv jazz, ed. Joëlle Losfeld, 1995, and Here to go elsewhere, The Basement, 2020). The English writer, born in 1958 and based in California, plans to reread all his texts in the light of this obsession, but postpones this project until later. ” rainy day ” indeterminate. This postponement, which seems like abandonment, confirms, in some way, his assertion, a few lines before the final point of this book, the heart of which consists of examining the latest works and the late periods of artists or athletes and of questioning which leads everyone to leave the table, the stage or the tennis courts.

There are other fixed points in the author’s remarkably flexible work, made of precision as well as nonchalance and irony. “Le Monde des livres” exchanged in writing with the one who believes he has finished with the novel but is not alarmed (“Writing has always interested me, not the precise form it would take”) and is amused to have seen the spread of the style of his non-fiction books, on the border between reporting, artistic criticism and personal narrative, so often described as “gender-defying” (“genre-defying”) by the British press: “It’s as if, from now on, the software was freely accessible. There are now spaces in bookstores reserved for books that do not fall into any specific category, but it wasn’t like that when I started… I don’t claim to have announced a revolution or wanted to declare a new Republic of letters – I was just doing my thing in my corner and, for the most part, to general indifference. » If his work does not yet have the wide readership in France that it deserves (despite the efforts of fervent admirers such as Emmanuel Carrère), it has long aroused the interest of a wide audience in English-speaking countries.


Geoff Dyer’s first published book, in 1986, was based on his thesis on the writer John Berger (1926-2017), an author whom he cites whenever he has the opportunity. Including, of course, in The last days…where he summons a number of men and women whose works accompany him, from Beethoven to the writer Annie Dillard, from Nietzsche to the painter Turner or the Nobel Prize winner for literature Louise Glück, including Bob Dylan and Roger Federer (Dyer considers him an artist, and he has solid arguments).

You have 71.32% of this article left to read. The rest is reserved for subscribers.



PREV Couple swap in “Married at first sight”? Ludivine answers!
NEXT Missing Yellowstone? The new series from its creator is coming soon! – News Series