Dominic Green

World Traveller Plus

White Sands: Experiences from the Outside World

By Geoff Dyer

Canongate 233pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

Connoisseurs of modern autobiography will recall Freaky Dancin’, the memoirs of Bez from Happy Mondays, especially the scene in which our hero, having taken ecstasy for the first time, experiences his consciousness opening ‘like a tap-it-and-unwrap-it Chocolate Orange’. Here, Bez confirms empirically Wittgenstein’s statement that the limits of language are the limits of the world.

I think of Bez’s enlightenment whenever I taste a slice of Terry’s Chocolate Orange, and also when I get to gorge on a new collection by Geoff Dyer. No sooner does Dyer tap and unwrap some strange experience at one end of the world or the other – the Northern Lights, or Gauguin’s Tahiti – than the whole thing falls apart. The original object of the journey dissolves before his eyes and the narrator’s personality shatters into shards. 

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