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White Sands

White Sands: Experiences from the Outside World

Geoff Dyer

From one of Britain’s most original writers, White Sands is a creative exploration of why we travel. Episodic, wide-ranging, funny and smart, the linked journeys recall the themes of Dyer’s Yoga for People Who Can’t Be Bothered to Do It––albeit with the wisdom of (middle) age.

From a trip to the Lightning Field in New Mexico to chasing Gauguin’s ghost in French Polynesia, from falling for someone who may or may not be a tour guide in Beijing’s Forbidden City to tracking down the house of an intellectual hero in Los Angeles, Dyer pursues all permutations of the peak experience––including the trough experience.

In his trademark style he blends travel writing, essay, criticism and fiction with a smart and cantankerous wit that is unmatched. This is a book for armchair travellers and procrastinating philosophers everywhere.


Geof Dyer on Why We Travel, Age


Australian Financial Review


New York Times


RNZ: Unity Books Review


Largehearted Boy

Geoff Dyer
About the Author

Geoff Dyer is the author of four previous novels, a critical study of John Berger and six other non-fiction books including But Beautiful, which was awarded the Somerset Maugham Prize, and Out of Sheer Rage, which was a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist. Dyer currently lives in Los Angeles and contributes to numerous publications...

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27 June 2016
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Praise for Geoff Dyer
andWhite Sands

‘One of the funniest writers working today.’

‘Geoff Dyer is a true original–one of those rare voices in contemporary literature that never ceases to surprise, disturb and delight.’

‘One of my favourite of all contemporary writers.’

‘Reading Dyer is akin to the sudden elation and optimism you feel when you make a new friend, someone as silly as you but cleverer too, in whose company you know you will travel though life more vagrantly, intensely, joyfully…Quite possibly the best living writer in Britain.' 

‘Dyer is more than a cult writer; he’s a virus, invading your system. You look at things differently, embracing the idiosyncratic, keeping the obvious at bay.’

‘Among the most original and talented writers of his generation.’

‘Dyer is compared to Proust, Lawrence and Kingsley Amis. The praise is deserved.’

‘Expect customary wit and insight…Likely the literary travel event of the year.’

‘A playful and bracing read throughout.’

‘Transcendent, reminding us that every square inch of the planet shimmers with the magnetism of its former life and former meaning.’

‘With philosophical incisiveness, Dyer extols the virtue of landscape to conjure in himself the tangible and the mirage, the real and the illusion, the possessed object and the desired object…A mesmerising compendium that reflects on time, place and just what, exactly, we are doing here.’

‘Where do we come from, where are we going, and when we get there, what, specifically, defines a particular place? These are the questions Dyer asks in a series of essays ostensibly about travel but actually much deeper…Dyer will surely be taking readers on a smart and meditative journey.’

‘Dyer is humorous and erudite, a rare combination. He uses his novelistic gifts—documenting social behaviours, seamlessly following streams of thought, juxtaposing observation and dialogue—to capture ephemera, fleetingness, beauty.’

‘Mr. Dyer insouciantly mixes fiction and nonfiction, smuggling invented bits into the seams of his reported essays…[White Sands] is also a rumination on the meanings we assign the strange destinations of our pilgrimages — “the power that some places exert and why we go to them.”…Mr. Dyer has both an intellectual and emotional interest in finding these places.‘

‘Dyer’s eyes miss nothing, and his brain emits sparks as brilliantly as The Lightning Field is meant to do in an evening thunderstorm.’

‘[H]e is the finest comic writer England has produced since Martin Amis in his pomp, particularly when it comes to the extended riff…And amid his new collection, which features some inspired and surprisingly moving art criticism, he twice had me laughing so uncontrollably that I had to stop reading.‘

‘A wild blend of travelogue, fiction and essay, [White Sands] affirms the English writer’s unrivalled capacity to playfully contest the segregation of genres…Dyer’s increasing sense of amiable purposelessness…leaves room for him to dwell, with some genius, on the accidental pleasures of disappointment.’

[Dyer’s] free-association meanderings are part essay, part travel writing, part fiction - told with wit and humour. This is an amusing exploration of why we travel (and is ideal armchair-traveller fodder).’

‘Playful yet profound explorations of what it is to travel and—by extension—live…As a companion on the road, Dyer is surprising, dry, adventurous, lucid, laconic, open to anything and—thanks to a rich cultural knowledge—the type of person who instinctively stitches moments into greater meaning.‘

‘It is the genius of Dyer’s work that he is able to remain highbrow — that is, maintain deep critical engagement with a subject — while being laugh-out-loud funny.’

‘There are moments in White Sands when Dyer is at his infuriating best – he’s obtuse and wrapped up in his own obsessions, but the thread of vulnerability that runs through the collection draws the reader towards a touching, sincere final act.’

‘Pitch-perfect prose.’

‘Episodic, wide-ranging, funny and smart, White Sands is a creative exploration of why we travel from one of Britain’s most original writers.’

‘Funny, irreverent, romantic, endlessly inquisitive.’

Other editions ofWhite Sands
  • White Sands
    ISBN: 9781922253675
    27 June 2016
    Buy ebook