The Man Within My Head

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Graham Greene, My Father and Me

This is, in a way, the point: when his wife Hiroko asked him why he wanted to spend so much time with Greene, Iyer told her: "It's a way of working things out, as I couldn't otherwise. In the person of Raghavan Iyer comes the most dramatic convergence of Iyer's real life and his life as shadowed by Greene: the father's last phone call to the son consisted of an answering-machine message racked with sobs, left in response to an essay by Iyer on Greene. Greene's great gift and his fount of despair, Iyer had written in that piece, was his ability to "see the folly and frailty of everyone around him".

Nothing changes a son as much as seeing the folly and the frailty of a father — or of a counterfather, or even, inescapably, given Greene's agonised Catholicism, of the Father.


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To recognise your father's fallibility is to recognise your own — and to feel, for the first time, truly bereft in the universe. One may have outgrown one's own father, as Greene once told an interviewer, but one still likes to feel that there's somebody there. Topics Graham Greene. Autobiography and memoir Biography books Travel writing reviews. Reuse this content. The man within my head is much clearer than the man within my blood.

No analysis, just people being people.


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Q: On a different note, were you affected much by the earthquake and nuclear fallout? Do you think Japan has been?

A: Somewhat to my embarrassment, I flew out of Japan the day before the earthquake rocked it. So the one time when my adopted home was in the news, and every media outlet from Vanity Fair to the Wall Street Journal was coming to me for inside information, I was sitting in Santa Barbara, California, looking out over the Pacific and unable to say anything useful or interesting about it.

The Man Within My Head by Pico Iyer – review | Books | The Guardian

Cars were still lying upside-down under water, telephone poles were tilting at degree angles. Whole areas where there had been neighborhoods were now nothing but rubble, mountains of scrap metal rising behind fences. It continues to seem more alien and unfathomable and remote to most of the rest of us than any country on earth, China and Korea included. He still sleeps with his pictures of Santa Barbara by his bed, and dreams, aged 90, of moving there.

The Man within My Head by Pico Iyer: review

Which brings us back to Greene, I suppose, and the way, growing up, I saw my ancient England fascinated with fresh, young California—and California seeming to hunger for some of the stability of Great Britain. Read An Excerpt. Paperback —. Add to Cart.

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About The Man Within My Head We all carry people inside our heads—actors, leaders, writers, people out of history or fiction, met or unmet, who sometimes seem closer to us than people we know. Also by Pico Iyer. Product Details.

Chumley's Rest

Inspired by Your Browsing History. Related Articles. Looking for More Great Reads? Overview Ever since he first read Graham Greene, Pico Iyer has been obsessed by the figure of the writer and by one of the great themes of Greene's work: what it means to be an outsider. He recently gave three TED talks, and they have received more than eight million views so far.

Assemblage 23 - The Noise Inside My Head - Lyrics

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