Zona: A Book About a Film About a Journey to a Room

Geoff Dyer

Zona: A Book About a Film About a Journey to a Room

Geoff Dyer takes on his biggest challenge yet: unlocking the film that has obsessed him all his adult life. Zona takes the reader on an enthralling and thought-provoking journey. Like Andrei Tarkovsky's film Stalker itself, it confronts the most mysterious and enduring questions of life and how to live. 3.8 out of 5 based on 7 reviews
Zona: A Book About a Film About a Journey to a Room

Omniscore:

Classification Non-fiction
Genre Essays, Journals & Letters, Music, Stage & Screen
Format Hardcover
Pages 240
RRP £16.99
Date of Publication February 2012
ISBN 978-0857861665
Publisher Canongate
 

Geoff Dyer takes on his biggest challenge yet: unlocking the film that has obsessed him all his adult life. Zona takes the reader on an enthralling and thought-provoking journey. Like Andrei Tarkovsky's film Stalker itself, it confronts the most mysterious and enduring questions of life and how to live.

Read the article which inspired the book on the Guardian website

Working the Room by Geoff Dyer

Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi by Geoff Dyer

Reviews

The Daily Telegraph

Igor Toronyi-Lalic

The frame-by-frame minute-taking, then, becomes a springboard for an investigation into everything from faith to knapsacks. An investigation that is honest, irreverent, cranky and frequently hysterical. An investigation that is informative too. And never hagiographic. Most of the biographical meat is shoved into ever-lengthening footnotes (often four or five pages long) that threaten to topple the text above.

20/01/2012

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The Independent on Sunday

Holly Williams

In a book about a room that makes your deepest wish come true, that Dyer's "expansion" should reveal his inner self seems natural. It turns Zona from film criticism into a stranger, more amusing study. He veers into territory that seems over-exposing – his greatest regret is never having a threesome? – but even this personal revelation is light-heartedly, then more theoretically, prodded. And the section on why their journey is like the journey of writing a book is both intellectually neat and rather touching.

05/02/2012

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The Independent

Ian Thompson

Throughout, the writing is of an aphoristic grace and concision, suffused with humour and a delight to read.

10/02/2012

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The Scotsman

Stuart Kelly

What makes this remarkable is that Stalker constantly hints at allegorical and symbolic meanings. But Dyer does not “reduce” it to a possible meaning, let alone “solve” its mysteries. The film, after reading Dyer’s homage to it, is more mysterious … Dyer’s range of references is capacious: one minute he’s comparing a scene to Last Of The Summer Wine, the next he is discussing the theories of Slavoj Zizek. The film’s accreted mythos – did filming near chemical factories lead to Tarkovsky’s death from cancer? – is sketched in with geeky assurance, and there’s a degree of sympathy between Dyer and Tarkovsky’s glorious elitism.

22/01/2012

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The Financial Times

Peter Aspden

Dyer’s eclecticism of sources – names checked include Heidegger and Bo Derek – and lightness of tone are deceptive. This is a rigorous book, and one that celebrates properly a lifelong devotion to an artistic masterpiece. But it is also entertaining ... A certain pleased-with-itself quality in Dyer’s prose is at odds with the agonised quests described within it. Of all the Christian values to be detected in Tarkovsky’s films, humility is among the most powerful. It is not notable in Dyer’s writing. Certain cutting judgments come dangerously close to glibness. It is like reading AA Gill on Schopenhauer.

27/01/2012

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The Guardian

Killian Fox

This, in other words, is much more than a useful guide to a classic film. It is also, in small doses, a memoir, a rumination on art and a philosophy of how to live well. Moreover, it is a running commentary on itself, and as such it poses a problem for the reviewer. Dyer is forever pre-empting criticism by flagging up the potential shortcomings of his project ... This, of course, is part of the raffish, easy-going charm of his writing and a source of its comic effect. No other writer cops out quite as elegantly as Geoff Dyer. However, there are passages in the book – especially towards the end when he seems to tire of summarising the onscreen action – that feel merely dashed-off, rather than strategically lazy.

05/02/2012

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The Spectator

Adam Mars-Jones

In any book that appears under Geoff Dyer’s name, whatever the ostensible subject, there’s likely to be a large accompanying portion of the author. Sometimes it seems as if it’s the subject that’s being served on the side ... Tarkovsky had a sense of sacred mission that sits oddly alongside this hangdog narcissism, constantly crossing over into self-parody, which may only be a variation on the traditional British reluctance to take anything seriously.

18/02/2012

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