The Blog

Geoff Dyer’s ZONA

Ben Mauk

Geoff Dyer draws no distinction between a work of art—a book, a film, a photograph—and his own encounter with it. He may be congenitally unable to distance the object of his critical attention from its relationship to his personal history, or else just unwilling. But to read Dyer is to have a conversation about art with a fiercely intelligent yet deeply self-involved friend.


A. Naomi Jackson

Binyavanga Wainana’s fantastic new book, One Day I Will Write About This Place explodes the boundaries of memoir and our notions of what it means to be a contemporary African. The book is part travelogue, part coming-of-age story, part African geopolitical history, but really in the end a tale about how its author became a writer. The story is told through dispatches from a particular time and place—grade school in Kenya, the first year of a business course in South Africa—and woven through with commentary that extends beyond the moment. Wainana is a master of simultaneously tackling both the small and the large-scale.


Russell Scott Valentino

One of my traveling companions on my recent Eurasia passage (see my blog posts Crossing, Crossing 2, Crossing 3, and Crossed) was Ian Frazier’s Travels in Siberia, which I read cover to cover, or rather, pixel to pixel (on a Kindle—hey, I was traveling), and as I rarely get to do such an exotic thing as read a whole book these days, here’s a review.

The Toymaker's War

Russell Scott Valentino

Working Group Theatre's production of The Toymaker's War, playing through this afternoon at Iowa City's Riverside Theatre, is about writing and responsibility, the ineffable mix of trauma, journalism, and art that troubled much of the twentieth century and, as evidenced by the recent polemic over John d'Agata's work, still troubles us today.


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