The name Yvette Cloetta will not convey much to the general reader. She led an interesting enough life, but it was always veiled in discretion. There is a glimpse of her in Greene on Capri, the pleasant memoir by Shirley Hazzard which was published a few years ago. In that book she appears as 'a pretty woman who loved - one might say idolised - Graham Greene'. Although Hazzard's own liking for the novelist was not uncritical, her description of Mme Cloetta's regard for her famous lover was clearly accurate. In Search of a Beginning is perhaps the final testimony to that 'idolising' devotion, which continued for more than thirty years.
It is an odd sort of book in one sense, consisting as it does only of a series of recorded conversations between Yvonne –Cloetta and her collaborator, who asks questions in a gentle but searching fashion and usually receives candid answers. It was composed towards the end of Cloetta's life