Book Review: The Man Within My Head
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Book: The Man Within My Head
Author: Pico Iyer
Publisher: Penguin India
The book "The Man Within My Head" by Pico Iyer begins with the declaration: "there is another within me". The book sets out to explore the influence of English writer Graham Greene in the field of literature and his role in influencing Iyer's literary sensibilities. Little wonder then that the book is smartly juxtaposed with contrasting views of Iyer and Greene. The title is seemingly borrowed from his literary father's work "The Man Within".
The theme of self-exploration as a literary device, is used well. It is also an attempt to examine the concept of dislocation. There is absolutely no doubt that this book is a reflection for Pico Iyer which is laced with fine prints which make it an absolute delight to read. It helps the reader in understanding facets of Graham Greene. Despite its underlined theme being discovery, the book ventures into a territory where it almost risks being an unofficial biography of the English playwright and writer. In the own words of Iyer, the book is like an attempt to paint a "counter-biography" which opposes the view painted by Greene's official biographer Norman Sherry. It seeks to deconstruct the mythical nature of the writer.
Over the years, Pico Iyer has established himself as a writer specializing in narrating tales about dislocation. In a very neat manner, the book explores the theme of displacement as the writer influenced by Graham Greene's ideas and setting out to map his life through a series of experiences. Despite its seemingly monotonous tone, the book is a reflection of fine print and manages to strike a balance between personal and professional lines. There is absolutely no doubt that Pico Iyer holds promise as a storyteller.
The writing in itself is not negative but the utter slow in which the narration progresses might prevent readers from reading further. The real deficiency in this book is not in the way the story is narrated but in the unusually long and descriptive nature that might turn off some readers. However, to write a 245 page novel and still not being able to distinguish between admiration and homage through description and rambling makes it a laborious task to read.