The Man Within My Head

The Man Within My Head : Graham Greene, My Father and Me

3.66 (369 ratings by Goodreads)
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We all carry other people inside our heads - actors, leaders, writers, people from history or fiction, met or unmet, who sometimes seem closer to us than the people we know.

Pico Iyer investigates the mysterious closeness he has always felt with Graham Greene and follows him from his first novel, The Man Within, to such later classics as The Quiet American. The further he delves, 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 Bolivia to Berkhamsted to Bhutan - one of our most resourceful cultural explorers gives us his most personal and revelatory book.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 256 pages
  • 129 x 198 x 25mm | 184g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1408831554
  • 9781408831557
  • 230,042

Review quote

He has written the work that those who love Greene (as I do) have dreamt of writing and, in doing it so well, absolved us of the need ... Humbling and moving ... The Man Within My Head is one of a handful of magical books that I have read straight through * Nicholas Shakespeare, Daily Telegraph * There are three men in this virtuoso memoir: Iyer comes to a better understanding of himself, the virtual man in his head and, movingly, the lifetime bond with his real father * Iain Finlayson, The Times * A personal and passionate book ... Captivating and intelligent ... An eloquent and intelligent investigation into fathers and sons. It is a book that contains travel anecdotes, personal memoirs, literary criticism and, yes, biography and autobiography. And yet the result is none of the above, being instead one of those hard to categorise books that publishers resist, booksellers puzzle over but readers will surely love * Observer * Iyer is good on Greene's ambivalence towards faith and its relation to his own darkness ... He's good too on Greene's strange prissiness * John Preston, Sunday Telegraph * In pages of elegant prose, Iyer acknowledges "Grim Grin" (as Kingsley Amis called him) as a father figure and "secret confidant" ... In a wonderful chapter, Iyer reflects on the importance of dentists in Greene. Perhaps the dentist is really another kind of priest, who administers suffering as a way of keeping "deeper suffering at bay" * Ian Thomson, Sunday Times * A Vividly unusual memoir ... generous, thoughtful, without ego, the book I wish I'd written ... Achieves a truly hard task, to make the writer's mediation become the reader's -- Julian Evans * Independent * Those who relish the discipline of trying to understand the human condition through the exercise of the imagination will fine this an exceptionally elegant and eloquent essay -- Jane Shilling * New Statesman * It is not only compellingly readable, but as telling about Greene as any biography yet published -- Maggie Fergusson * Economist * In his guise of travel writer, Iyer has really been out most elegant poet of dislocation ... This is a literary bond - the dense and fraught relationship that can grow, almost unbidden, between reader and writer - but it is not just that. Through Greene's writing, Iyer accesses Greene himself, delivering to us a thoughtful and exquisitely rendered portrait of him -- Samantha Subramanian * Guardian * The laurel for the most charming and original biography-cum-memoir goes to Pico Iyer * Daily Telegraph *
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About Pico Iyer

Pico Iyer is the author of six works of nonfiction and two novels. He has covered the Tibetan question for Time, the New Yorker, the New York Times, the New York Review of Books and many other publications for more than twenty years. He has been traveling in and around Tibetan communities and the Himalayas for more than thirty years.
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Rating details

369 ratings
3.66 out of 5 stars
5 20% (74)
4 41% (150)
3 28% (105)
2 7% (26)
1 4% (14)
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