Books as guides
Updated: May 1, 2018
Real life can be boring, so when I’m walking on my treadmill, I pretend I’m some kind of Owen Meany, preparing for a fateful future event that requires thirty minutes of walking at four kilometres an hour.
In Sugar Shack, Cutter lets the novel he reads decide his next step in life. He escapes and goes to Vietnam because of Graham Green’s A Quiet American.
In Widow for One Year, John Irving created a character who was obsessed by Green’s novels. I became obsessed too and read as many as I could each summer break from university. I hadn’t read Green before because my Mum said he was, “a pervert.”
I think this is because of Graham Green’s personal life rather than his novels. My Mum was a Catholic and so was Green. All his life, Green kept two diaries, which seems to me the most Catholic thing in the world and reminds me of my Mum.
The Power and the Glory was an important novel for me to read in the middle of my Philosophy Degree. That summer, I learnt to appreciate people’s need for a God.