Geoff Dyer and Colin Marshall

Dyer interviewed on The Marketplace of Ideas.

“My parents’ view of the world was just too simple: it was suited to the Depression but not to the 1970s,” Geoff Dyer writes in “On Being an Only Child”, one of Otherwise Known as the Human Condition’s personal pieces. “I, on the other hand, had the contemporary idea that the world owed me a living.” As an only child myself, I suppose I can relate to that. I’ve long wanted to speak with him on this show, not just because he speaks for us only children — so I assume — but because he speaks for us fans of Tarkovsky, us dedicated listeners of ECM records, and us real-job-avoiders — again, so I assume. I met up with him on the weekend of the 2011 Los Angeles TImes Festival of books; we discussed these matters and others. (Other matters include achieving writerly independence of subjects, whether Susan Sontag knew everything or nothing, the perks of apoliticality, and how to defeat Pico Iyer at ping-pong.)

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Very interesting!


The Surrender is Veronica Scott Esposito’s “collection of facts” concerning how she embraced her true gender.


Two long essays of 10,000 words each on sex in—and out of—literature . . .

The first essay dives in to Nicholson Baker’s “sex trilogy,” explaining just what Baker is up to here and why these books ultimately fail to be as sexy as Baker might wish.

From there the book moves on to the second essay, which explains just why Spaniard Javier Marías does right what Baker does wrong . . .


5 essays. 2 interviews.

All in all, over 25,000 words of Latin American literary goodness.

3 never-before-published essays, including “The Digression”—a 4,000-word piece on the most important digression in César Aira’s career.

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