cover image The Search

The Search

Geoff Dyer. Graywolf, $15 trade paper (176p) ISBN 978-1-55597-678-1

Dyer’s second novel, first published abroad in 1993 but unavailable in the U.S. until now, is a take on the detective/noir genre in the vein of Auster, Calvino, and Borges. When Walker, a brooding, heavy-drinking loner and experienced “tracker” with something of a criminal reputation, meets the seductive Rachel, he agrees—against his better judgment—to heed to her request to look for her “secretive” missing ex-husband Malory. With few clues to go on (Malory avoids being photographed), Walker sets off on a journey through absurd fictional cities that make his quest harder and logically muddy—in one city he loses his motivation to leave; in another, people seem to be in constant danger—but also add a layer of intrigue. He drives—often in stolen vehicles—through deserts and dangerous storms, catching rides on trains and biking. He meets several eccentrics along the way, including an avant-garde director, who aide him in his search. Walker’s task is made even more complex when the enigmatic Carver—who claims he’s also looking for Malory, but whose motives are never entirely clear—begins pursuing him, after Carver fails to convince Walker to join forces with him. Dyer creates a series of puzzles, which are sure to send some back for a second read, as Walker tries to anticipate Malory’s moves. Those familiar with Dyer’s later works (Out of Sheer Rage) may be at first surprised that he is capable of writing in this plotted and cerebral mode, though his considerable talents, including the ability to write in other veins, are on display here. (May)