Intrigued by Zona, I put a hold on some of Geoff Dyer's other books at the Library. The first one available was his late 90s novel, Paris Trance, which was in many ways right in my wheel house. It concerns an expatriate in Paris who finds some comfort in the cinemas of the City of Light. Rings familiar.
When he grew tired of walking he went to the cinema. (Ah, cinema, solace of the lonely young men and women of all great cities.). He saw a film a day, sometimes two. He became a connoisseur of the non-time that preceded the films themselves, especially in small cinemas where there were no advertisements or previews, where the audience was made up of four or five people, all of them alone. It was easy to see why, in films, fugitives and wanted men went to the cinema; not just to hide in the dark but because these intervals between performances were out of time. To all intents and purposes you might as well not have existed - and yet, simultaneously, you were acutely conscious of your existence. When the lights faded -- always that same sequence of perception: the lights are fading, no they're not, yes they are, yes -- and the curtains cranked back slightly to extend the tiny screen, there was always a moment, after the studio logos had been displayed, when the blaze of projected colour lit up the screen like Eden on the first day of creation.
Unfortunately our lonely hero eventually hooks up with an unaccountably gorgeous gal, they have fantastic sex in the manner in which many books written by males in the late 90s do, and the book loses its steam. But Dyer is, at the end of the day, clearly a movie freak, and he captures the mystery of that in some very pungent ways.