Paperback review: Anglo-English Attitude, By Geoff Dyer

From Airfix to Amis: The fan-boy as literary critic

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The Independent Culture

Geoff Dyer's first collection of essays, reissued here by Canongate, reveals a diverse range of interests, from boxing to Barthes, from Airfix models to war photography.

Dyer is less quotable than, say, Clive James – who tends to press his stylistic stamp on whatever subject he addresses – but he is more protean. This book reveals him as an elusive shape-shifter of an essayist, morphing from lyrical travel writer (in Algeria "even wind seems a species of light") to enthused fan-boy (superhero comics inspire "undimmable wonder") to astute literary critic. He sees a gap between Martin Amis's "matchless linguistic power and the relative banality of his thought" – a judgement that seems to me right on the Money.