Friday, November 6, 2009

Staff Pick: Out of Sheer Rage

Book Cover

Out of Sheer Rage: Wrestling with D.H. Lawrence by Geoff Dyer

Out of Sheer Rage takes its title and epigraph from a letter penned by D.H. Lawrence in 1914. “Out of sheer rage,” he wrote, “I've begun my book on Thomas Hardy. It will be about anything but Thomas Hardy I am afraid -- queer stuff -- but not bad.''

Like his subject before him, Geoff Dyer wrote a book on Lawrence that is not really about Lawrence. If anything, it is a book about Dyer’s inability to write a book about Lawrence. Not only is it not bad, it’s very smart and very funny.

Out of Sheer Rage seamlessly and quite discursively mixes travelogue, literary criticism, biography, memoir, and cultural commentary. As Dyer and his “almost wife” Laura embark on a series of trips to former homes and haunts of Lawrence, he holds forth on topics as diverse as the limits of contemporary fiction and his own bad knees. In the end, the book offers some well-earned lessons about the practice of daily life and the roles and possibilities of art. The reader will also learn a little about D. H. Lawrence.

Jacob - Adult Services

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