The life story of certain modern novelist would make a great novel itself. He has no brothers or sisters. His father was a banker and his mother was a homemaker.
The family moved frequently, going from one country to another.
At the age of 10, this man who would grow up to be an internationally-acclaimed novelist and intellectual went to school and early on, the boy (and the young man he became) began to suspect something wasn’t entirely right with his family, even if he couldn’t say why or what.
“My parents didn’t much go in for directly telling me things,” he once said.
His mother grew up on a farm.
At 16, she went to a boarding school to become a nun, but returned home to her parents after only a year — and was shunned by her parents as a result.
Years later, she wound up as a nurse, worked in a tuberculosis sanatorium, contracted the disease herself, then met and fell in love with another patient.
Just before their wedding, he died abruptly. I’m not making this up.
Thinking it was perhaps a sign from God, she returned to the convent and succeeded this time in becoming a nun.
After 15 years of missionary work, she fell in love once more.
This second man disappeared. (I’m not making any of this up. Are you still with me?)
The next man with whom she fell in love became her husband for the rest of her life. (Only close to the end of it would she let him in on the central secret of her existence.)
Her husband had always wanted a large family. His wife was already 40 when they married and assumed that she wouldn’t be able to provide one. But she lied to him, telling him she was only 31. (I’m not making this up. There’s more. Are you ready?)
She used her younger sister’s government papers to get a fraudulent passport.
Fearing her family might expose her, she broke with them completely; in order to keep her story straight, she omitted her missionary work from discussions of her life with her new husband, their son, and their relatives. Nine years had to ”disappear.”
Within the family and their relatives, there was an understanding that large swaths of her life were simply not to be discussed. It was only after his mother died that he spoke to his aunt about her life. With his mother’s conflicting passport and birth certificate in hand, he unraveled the truth.
There are many things one could say about how all of this relates to this world-famous novelist now in 2019.
You could argue that it inspired the investigative prowess that makes his ”nonfiction” so spellbinding, that it brought him to terms with the many secrets and duplicities of the world that he shows in his ”fiction.’
But it also demonstrates how we are all reticent to know the less pleasant truths of our lives, according to a biographer. He worked through this deceit with both therapy and the partial shield of research and book writing, his biographer said.
But in a memoir he wrote, even as he is engaging with his own history, there is a feeling that he is looking at it indirectly, his biographer says. When, for instance, he calls his father “one of the best men I have known,” it comes off as a professional eulogy, not a wholly intimate expression of love, the biographer adds,
And his mother’s deceptions took a significant toll on his mental health, as you can well imagine.
While he excelled in his studies at university, but he also suffered a series of panic attacks and a mental breakdown, according to people who knew him.
“The divorce between thought and feeling,” he once told an interviewer, “was so complete I barely counted as human.”
So who was/is this man? Leave your comments in the comments section below if you can guess his name.