From a writer whose mastery encompasses fiction, criticism, and the fertile realm between the two, comes a new book that confirms his reputation for the unexpected.In Zona, Geoff Dyer attempts to unlock the mysteries of a film that has haunted him ever since he first saw it thirty years ago: Andrei Tarkovsky's Stalker, widely regarded as one of the greatest films of all time. ("Every single frame," declared Cate Blanchett, "is burned into my retina.") As Dyer guides us into the zone of Tarkovsky's imagination, we realize that the film is only the entry point for a radically original investigation of the enduring questions of life, faith, and how to live. In a narrative that gives free rein to the brilliance of Dyer's distinctive voice-acute observation, melancholy, comedy, lyricism, and occasional ill-temper-Zona takes us on a wonderfully unpredictable journey in which we try to fathom, and realize, our deepest wishes.Zona is one of the most unusual books ever written about film, and about how art-whether a film by a Russian director or a book by one of our most gifted contemporary writers-can shape the way we see the world and how we make our way through it.
Some films inspire devotion in viewers, while others spark obsession. Novelist and nonfiction author Dyer (Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi) has become obsessed with the 1979 Russian film Stalker, directed by Andrei Tarkovsky. Dyer gives the reader an impressionistic, deeply subjective tour of a cerebral film featuring a character who guides people through a forbidden wasteland zone. The author claims the work contains the "quality of prophecy" and has always "invited allegorical readings." As he explicates the film, Dyer supplies lengthy, deliberate digressions on such topics as drinking in films, the annoying quality of coming attractions movie trailers, and his perceived similarities between Stalker and The Wizard of Oz-the latter film he admits he's never seen and never intends to see. The book is a bit of a bumpy ride, not for all tastes. Verdict Some readers might enjoy getting inside Dyer's head, and his book is distinguished by his stylish if disjointed prose. However, because relatively few have seen the Tarkovsky film, this remains an optional purchase.-Stephen Rees, formerly with Levittown Lib., PA (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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February 21, 2012
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