He feels “untied to any one culture”. Traveling the world. Writing in one hotel or another.
Some call him a “poet of dislocation”.
In his youth, he aspired to be Leonard Cohen.
This book details the literary influence Graham Greene has had on his own life. He sees a continuum:
Maugham > Greene > le Carré
(Both Greene and le Carré often denied the literary legacy. But I can see it.)
Iyer’s father started the study giving the young Pico Maugham’s classic The Summing Up, one of my favourite books.
Indeed, I’ve read a lot of Iyer, Maugham and le Carré. Not so much Greene. Though maybe I will in future.
On the other hand, Greene can be bleak.
His gift, says Iyer, was to see “the folly and frailty of everyone around him”.
On the up side, Greene inevitably shows compassion for the weakest of his characters.
In the end Iyer’s not sure whether the man within his head is Greene. Or his own father.
Nicholas Shakespeare – The Man within My Head by Pico Iyer: review
Samanth Subramanian – The Man Within My Head by Pico Iyer – review