Jeff In Venice, Death In Varanasi (Vintage, $15), by Geoff Dyer, is a book that stayed with me long after I finished it. In the first of the novel’s two parts, Jeff, a mediocre freelance journalist, is hired to cover the Venice Biennale. Everything about this event is over the top: the parties, the art, the drinking, the sex--even the weather is overheated. For part two Dyer moves the action to Varanasi. An unnamed journalist on assignment gradually feels the slow, spiritual workings of the holy city transform him. He ends up staying longer than he’d planned. Is this the same pseudo-slacker Jeff from part one, or is this someone else entirely? Give yourself over to Dyer’s (and Jeff’s) sensuous journey to find the answer.
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