Summary and book reviews of The Search by Geoff Dyer

The Search

By Geoff Dyer

The Search
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  • Paperback: May 2014,
    176 pages.

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Book Reviewed by:
Morgan Macgregor

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About this Book

Book Summary

Walker meets Rachel at a glamorous party by the bay. When she turns up at his apartment two days later, there is a hint of erotic promise in the air. But it isn't Walker she wants - at least not yet. Her husband, Malory, has gone missing, and she wants Walker to find him.

So begins Walker's quest, as well as this beautiful novel that takes our hard-boiled knight across the vast landscape of an imaginary middle America that begins subtly to morph into something stranger. Walker's search intensifies, and soon it seems that somebody else is searching for him. In The Search, his second novel, Geoff Dyer concocts a sophisticated and enthralling narrative puzzle.

Excerpt
The Search

Walker was watching her carefully from behind the sunglasses. Her knees parted, almost imperceptibly, a quarter of an inch, no more, as she spoke. With his empty glass he gestured for her to continue.

'For a while you worked as a tracker.'

'Not exactly.'

'You found Orlando Brandon.'

'I came across him. By accident.'

'A very fortunate accident. For you, at any rate. People had been looking for him for three years. The buy-out must have been considerable.'

Walker waited, studying her.

'Not so fortunate for him, however,' she said. 'If I remember rightly, he was dead three weeks after you found him.'

'Four.'

She dug around in her bag and found another pair of sun- glasses. Blew dust off the lenses.

'How many pairs do you have in there?'

'This is the last,' she said, her eyes disappearing behind the shades. 'I would like you to ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse

The Search should garner a strong American audience, having as it does all the makings of a good hardboiled detective story. All together, you get what amounts to a Salvador Dali painting in novel form. That is, it gives the distinct impression of taking place in a world almost like this one, but somehow not quite. Read this book.   (Reviewed by Morgan Macgregor).

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Media Reviews
The Sunday Times (UK)

As elegant as a mathematical theorem correctly expressed.

Kirkus Reviews

A pretentiously self-conscious, lulling yet strangely pleasurable cross of Gulliver's Travels and Pilgrim's Progress with a little of the television cult show The Prisoner thrown in for good measure.

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Dyer creates a series of puzzles, which are sure to send some back for a second read... [Dyer's] considerable talents, including the ability to write in other veins, are on display here.

The Independent on Sunday (UK)

So it's farewell my lovely and we're off, on a package tour through gumshoe thriller, film noir, road movie... and chivalric romance... An ambitious, stylish novel.

The New Statesman (UK)

If any British writer can try on the mantle of Calvino, Dyer can. He has a poet's gift with metaphor as well as an ability to grasp ideas, hold them, pass them on.

The Spectator (UK)

Dyer injects an almost magical randomness into what ought to be the most conventional of tales, and gives us Surrealism where we might have expected Dirty Realism... Its after-image is hard to erase.

The Guardian (UK)

A short, brilliant novel, The Search offers more in 150 pages than most books twice that length.

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Hardboiled Detective Fiction: Literary Greats

Even if it does veer off into other categories, The Search could be essentially classified as hardboiled detective fiction.

In the 1920s and early 1930s, Dashiell Hammett became the preeminent writer in the field. Until this time, detective stories were lumped in with the rest of "crime fiction," with the focus being on a plot that would elicit shock, awe and horror from the reader. Hammett popularized a style whereby the detective approached his work with cynicism ("hardboiled" refers to an egg, inferring a tough shell). His hardboiled protagonists spoke to the reader about their perceptions, and looked upon the horrors of their job with a jaded, detached eye.

Shortly after Hammett become popular, Raymond Chandler came onto the ...

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