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.
In The Man Within My Head, Pico Iyer sets out to unravel the mysterious closeness he has always felt with the English writer Graham Greene; he examines Greene’s obsessions, his elusiveness, his penchant for mystery. Iyer follows Greene’s trail from his first novel, The Man Within, to such later classics as The Quiet American and begins to unpack all he has in common with Greene: an English public school education, a lifelong restlessness and refusal to make a home anywhere, a fascination with the complications of faith. The deeper Iyer plunges into their haunted kinship, the more he begins to wonder whether the man within his head is not Greene but his own father, or perhaps some more shadowy aspect of himself.
Drawing upon experiences across the globe, from Cuba to Bhutan, and moving, as Greene would, from Sri Lanka in war to intimate moments of introspection; trying to make sense of his own past, commuting between the cloisters of a fifteenth-century boarding school and California in the 1960s, one of our most resourceful explorers of crossing cultures gives us his most personal and revelatory book.
About the Author
Pico Iyer (born 1957) is a British-born essayist and novelist. He is the author of numerous books on travel including Video Night in Kathmandu. His shorter pieces regularly appear in Time, Harper's, NYRB and many other publications.
Iyer was born in Oxford, England, the son of Raghavan N. Iyer, an Oxford philosopher and Theosophist, and the religious scholar Nandini Nanak Mehta. When he was eight, his family moved to California, and for more than a decade he moved back and forth several times a year between schools and college in England and his parents' home in California. He won academic scholarships to Eton, Oxford University and Harvard - graduating with a Congratulatory Double First at Oxford, with the highest marks in the university and taught writing and literature at Harvard before joining Time in 1982 as a writer on world affairs. Since then he has traveled widely, from North Korea to Easter Island, and from Paraguay to Ethiopia, while writing seven works of non-fiction and two novels, and basing himself in Japan, where he lives with his Japanese wife, divorcee Hiroko Takeuchi, the "Lady" of his third book, and her two children from an earlier marriage.