I've been a Geoff Dyer fan for years and I hit a wall of disappointment listening to "Jeff in Venice". I couldn't figure out why the text even existed. Who could care about the sex life and gorged ego of the lead character? There is little reason to read this first half of the book although I forced myself to finish it.
"Death in Varanasi" is a fresh start with the same, or similar, character. Only one problem with "Varanasi." The narrator doesn't know how to pronounce the name of the city. It drove me wacky listening to him mispronounce it over and over again. Finally, I learned to ignore his pronunciation and fell deeply into the story. This is a great tale of "neurotic enlightenment." I started listening to "Venice" again after finishing "Varanasi," but it still wasn't worth the time. I listened "Varanasi" again and fell into it with a new level of comprehension. This is a great short novel. Five stars for "Death in Varanasi" minus one star for pronunciation. No stars for "Jeff in Venice." Simply ignore it.
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