by Geoff Dyer

Graywolf Press, $18.00, 421 pages

Whether he is talking about the perils of being an only child, the merits of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Tender is the Night, or the photographs of Richard Avedon, author Geoff Dyer is knowledgeable, articulate, and witty. He is curious about everything and everyone around him and has devoted his life to observing the people and culture of our time. The writing in his new book, Otherwise Known as the Human Condition:  Selected Essays and Reviews spans two decades and leaves no topic untouched.  The book is divided into Visuals, Verbals, Musicals, Variables, and Personals and is clever, thoughtful and slightly eccentric without being the least bit sarcastic or bitter.

Dyer has written many novels and works of non-fiction and has won numerous awards including the Somerset Maugham Prize for But Beautiful and the 2004 W. H. Smith Best Travel Book Award for Yoga for People Who Can’t Be Bothered To Do It.  This is a perfect Geoff Dyer primer for the uninitiated and for those of you who already count him as a favorite, it will be icing on the cake.

Reviewed by Diane Prokop