Out of Sheer Rage
Recounts the author's experiences visiting the places D.H. Lawrence lived while actively not working on a book about Lawrence and not writing his own novel.
Why read it?
4 authors picked Out of Sheer Rage as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?
First, because it’s incredibly funny. Geoff Dyer set out—he says—to write a sober, serious study of D. H. Lawrence, but life, travel arrangements, random people and his own inertia kept getting in the way. The story of his odyssey doesn’t just evoke all the things about writing that we’ve always suspected (that it’s hard; that it’s easy; that we often wonder why on earth we do it; that we never question that we want to do it). It also, by stealth, evokes and explains an amazing amount about Lawrence, and why he’s a writer that so many people love—or hate—so…
In the middle of writing Love and Fury, feeling slightly stuck and unsure, I stumbled on this deliciously funny, self-deprecating, and exhilarating portrait of the artist struggling to write a book. Dyer recounts his somewhat desperate attempt, and failure, to “locate” the elusive D. H. Lawrence, but he ends up instead writing a kind of anti-biography and memoir that illuminates both writer and subject. We writers are always looking for other writers to commiserate with on how hard writing is. I’m not sure how that magic works, but it can be just the push to keep going.
A funnier book has never been written about the anxieties and frustrations of a would-be biographer. Dyer’s memoir of his misadventures traveling around Sicily, New Mexico, and Britain while not writing the biography of D. H. Lawrence, is a hilarious and totally relatable tale of failure.
Out of Sheer Rage: Wrestling With D. H. Lawrence is Geoff Dyer’s sprawling, hilarious account of trying to write a book about the writer who made him want to write. As Dyer tracks Lawrence across the globe—from Greece to Italy to England to Mexico to New Mexico—he delights in the unexpected parallels he discovers between himself and his literary idol (“We are skinny, narrow-shouldered men, Lawrence and I”) and suggests that we follow in the footsteps of our favorite writers “to claim kin with them, to be guided by them.”
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