LIVE from the NYPL: PICO IYER in conversation with Paul Holdengräber

February 7, 2012

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THE MAN WITHIN MY HEAD: On GRAHAM GREENE & Other Elective Affinities.

"Some people can't listen to Joni Mitchell songs, because they hit too close to home; some can't read Henry James, for the same reason. Others are convinced they're Gwyneth Paltrow's unacknowledged other half. Who are these people who take root inside our heads and sometimes seem closer than the people we know in life? My particular ghost is Graham Greene. I could cite reasons for the sense of connection--our common upbringing in British boarding-schools, our finding ourselves in Saigon and Havana and Paraguay and Haiti, our interest in the paradoxes of faith. But none of those would be an explanation; the power of affinity lies in its mysteriousness. In The Man Within My Head, I journey to hauntedness, the subconscious and those fathers we create, in opposition to the ones who created us."         

                                     -- Pico Iyer 

In conversation with Paul Holdengräber, Pico Iyer will unravel the mysterious communion he has always had with Graham Greene, illuminated now in The Man Within My Head. Iyer, at home nowhere, will examine the nature of his elective affinities with Greene--their shared restlessness and refusal to make a home in any faith, country or category.

Pico Iyer is the author of two novels and eight works of non-fiction, including Video Night in Kathmandu, The Lady and the Monk, The Global Soul and The Open Road. He writes frequently for The New York Review of Books, Harper's, The New York Times and many other publications; his most recent articles have discussed the workers of the Fukushima nuclear plant, the power of stillness and the fiction of Somalia.


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LIVE from the NYPL is made possible with generous support from Celeste Bartos, Mahnaz Ispahani Bartos and Adam Bartos, and the Margaret and Herman Sokol Public Education Endowment Fund.


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Prepatory impact and cultural influence

Throughout my years of attending private institutions I have come across an undying tie-in to religious tolerance. Many believe that religious views shape cultural thought, yet stimulated belief structures influenced by the perverbeal backlash of cast judgement. The iconic traveling consisting of minimal resources and decadent instincts subtract themes of violence, hatred, and solitude. Feelings that are tangible vs emotions that are translucent depict a "ghost of a shell." - Spark