The Man Within My Head, Pico Iyer
Paperback of the Week
The Man Within My Head
In the world’s forgotten margins, such as Tahiti and Bolivia, Graham Greene collected unshaven fugitives, lonely men and renegade priests: his archetypal protagonists. In his novels, these sympathies uncover painful paradoxes. Greene felt alive when surrounded by a culture and faith he couldn’t fathom. Pico Iyer recognises this impulse.
Like Greene, he abhors the notion of stasis, both physically and mentally. The Man Within My Head – is it memoir or confession? – also brings up the notion of what it means to live a writer’s life. “There’s a splinter of ice,” wrote Greene, “in the heart of a writer.”
In prose that soars with magical associations, Iyer takes the reader on a mental, spiritual and literary journey as he travels to the locations of Greene’s novels. He also finds that it’s not just his mentor/virtual father who haunts him, but his own father.
This is a book to be reread for its depth, insights and startling journey into the undiscovered country of the self.