insights, sadness, rumination and splashes of dazzling travelogue


Greene, for sure, is a writer who goes on inspiring other writers, haunting them, even, as evidenced by Pico Iyer’s lovely new book “The Man Within My Head,” which chronicles an obsession to which in many ways he’d rather not be subjected. Greene, after all, was nothing if not an Englishman, whereas Iyer, educated in England and California, born to dazzling Indian parents, springs from several cultures and has created a career moving among many more. Iyer is a very modern kind of guy; Greene, while prescient in many ways, stalks us from another era. “But there he is, in spite of everything,” Iyer writes. “Not a hero or a counselor or the kind of person I would otherwise want to claim as kin. I see the gangly, long-legged figure graciously receiving a visitor in his room and keeping the intruder at bay with an offer of a drink, folding his awkward limbs around himself on the sofa; I see the high color in his cheeks, and the pale, unearthly blue eyes that speak to everyone of the troubled depths he’s both concealing and perceiving in the world. He speaks in a slightly strangled English voice … and, when amused, he breaks into an unhardened, high-pitched giggle, suddenly, that equally abruptly stops, as if he’s been caught out, the mischievous boy escaping, for a moment, from the sharp-eyed keeper of his own counsel.”

more from Richard Rayner at the LA Times here.