With the possible exception of Ernest Hemingway, no twentieth-century novelist casts a greater spell over the imaginations of aspiring male writers than Graham Greene. Working without allegiance to a specific ideology, nation or woman, he gave us stories that seamlessly melded thematic profundity with thriller-like adventure plots. Whether they admitted it or not, writers as diverse as Paul Theroux and John le Carré developed in Greene’s long shadow.
Pico Iyer is one of these aficionados. By his own admission, the British-born journalist, travel writer and novelist fell under Greene’s spell early. The Man Within My Head is Iyer’s attempt to show how this attachment was not just a form of artistic hero-worship, but also became a vital aspect