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Extended Audio Sample Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi: A Novel, by Geoff Dyer Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,481 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Geoff Dyer Narrator: Simon Vance Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Every two years the international art world descends on Venice for the opening of the Biennale. Among them is Jeff Atman, a jaded and dissolute journalist, whose dedication to the cause of bellini-fuelled party-going is only intermittently disturbed by the obligation to file a story. When he meets the spellbinding Laura, he is rejuvenated, ecstatic. Their romance blossoms quickly, but is it destined to disappear just as rapidly?

Every day thousands of pilgrims head to the banks of the Ganges at Varanasi, the holiest Hindu city in India. Among their number is a narrator who may or may not be the Atman previously seen in Venice. Intending to visit only for a few days, he ends up staying for months, and suddenly finds a hitherto unexamined idea of himself, the self. In a romance he can only observe, he sees a reflection of the kind of pleasures that, willingly or not, he has renounced. In the process, two ancient and watery cities become versions of each other. Could two stories, in two different cities, actually be one and the same story?

An irrepressible and wildly original novel of erotic fulfillment and spiritual yearning, Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi is dead-on in its evocation of place, longing, and the possibility of neurotic enlightenment.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Dyer is very funny, in both senses—sort of like a post-modern Kingsley Amis. His writing is acute and bad tempered in the great British tradition, and his prose is the equal of anyone in the country. A national treasure.”

    Zadie Smith, author of White Teeth

  • “A raucous delight. Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi is truly surprising—very funny, full of nerve, gutsy and delicious. Venice will never be the same again!”

    Michael Ondaatje, author of The English Patient

  • “A sad, funny, lyrical, furious story.”

    Alain de Botton, author of How Proust Can Change Your Life

  • “Profoundly haunting and fearless…Dyer at his very best.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Wonderful observations, pungent and funny.”

    New Yorker

  • “No contemporary writer blends genres better than Geoff Dyer, and his latest novel—a vigorous mash-up of satire, romance, travelogue, and existential treatise—is his best yet…Dyer excels at savage comedy—see his tableau of jaded art critics desperately swilling Bellinis—but he’s even better on the profound pleasures and indignities of the flesh, which are the forces that unite his novel’s two very separate worlds.”

    Time magazine, “The Top 10 Everything of 2009”

  • “Dyer’s writerly versatility braids into something madly compelling as the narration becomes comically and tragically unreliable.”

    Boston Globe

  • “Intoxicating…A roller-coaster ride.”

    National Geographic Traveler

  • “Highly imaginative…sensuous, lyrical prose brimming with colorful detail…Dyer [writes with] intelligence and stylistic grace, and his ability to evoke atmosphere with impressive clarity is magical…For all his wit and cleverness, Dyer is unflinching in conveying the empty lives of his contemporaries, and in doing so he’s written a work of exceptional resonance.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “[Jeff in Venice] is a dirty satire on a decadent scene, but it’s also wise, wistful, funny, and achingly sad.”

    Very Short List

  • “Funny, insightful, and accessible, [Jeff in Venice] allows the reader to move easily between the two cities and connect with the two characters, or two halves of the same person…[Dyer is] an innovative, genre-bending writer.”


  • “A mere description of the story line only scratches the surface of this funny and mysterious work. Dyer’s witticisms and wordplay, woven into the ongoing commentary of the history, geography, and psychology of Venice and then Varanasi, are brilliant.”

    Library Journal

  • “Geoff Dyer is a True Original—one of those rare voices in contemporary literature that never ceases to surprise, disturb and delight. A must read for our confused and perplexing times.”

    William Boyd, author of Nat Tate: An American Artist 1928–1960

  • A 2009 Economist Best Book for Fiction
  • A 2009 San Francisco Chronicle Best Book for Fiction
  • A 2009 Slate Magazine Best Book for Fiction
  • A 2009 Publishers Weekly Top 10 Book for Fiction
  • An Indie Next Notable Title, May 2009
  • One of the 2009 New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books for Fiction
  • A 2009 Time Magazine Top 10 Book for Fiction

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Flelly | 2/18/2014

    " I just loved it. I am still figuring it out, though. This is a man's, pitch dark version of Eat, Pray, Love. I am a sucker for an 'I go crazy in India' story. Any and every day of the week. Yes, please. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Mike Tarasovic | 2/5/2014

    " The two halves of this book never really came together for me, and while the first half was the more entertaining of the two, it was also the more self-absorbed and therefore kind of annoying. Somebody would like this book, I'm sure, but I can't think of anyone I'd recommend it to. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Abigail King | 2/1/2014

    " heads or tails. jupiter or hera? venice or varanasi? I loved this book. he had me at the title, but the rest lives up. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Marcus | 1/20/2014

    " The most enjoyable novel I've read, well... in a very long time "

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