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Notebook on Cities and Culture S1E14: Fathers Chosen and Unchosen with Pico Iyer

Colin Marshall sits down in downtown Los Angeles with Pico Iyer, writer about place — both our dreams of it and its realities. They discuss his new book The Man Within My Head; how best to introduce Graham Greene’s The Quiet American to new readers; how he started a book on being a pleasantly bewildered foreigner in Japan and finished a book about Greene, brush fires, and his own father; the roles of fathers both chosen and unchosen; the ultimate unknowability of other people, and the form of intimacy found in accepting that not-knowing; graduating from school into a British Empire twenty years dead; his Fowlerian perspective to Los Angeles’ Pyle; England under the burden of too much past, California under the burden of too little, and his inoculation against the excesses of both by having oscillated between them; his return to England in the form of Japan; how Los Angeles anthologizes the world within itself versus how Japan does, and how Los Angeles handles its multiculturalism versus how Toronto does; his distrust of words, and Greene’s distrust of everything but words; his father’s interaction with the children of the 1960s’ Californian counterculture, and Hunter S. Thompson chronicling the collapse of that culture while seeing idealism without ideology; living friends as traveling companions versus dead authors as traveling companions; and Greene as, at once, his predictor, reflector, guide, understander, and anticipator.

Download the interview from Notebook on Cities and Culture’s feed here or on iTunes here.

(Photo: Derek Shapton)

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