Isn’t the very idea of the writer, who has been very successful, yoked to the exercise of egotism? What is the driving force that leads anyone to be a writer? The thought/practice that one has something important to say, that should be paid attention to. Even we who simply post comments, to essays like this, think we have something worth reading, even though our egotism hasn’t reached the domain of self-regard of Mr. Raphael.
Mr. Raphael is not just a fiction writer but his essays/reviews appear in the most prestigious literary review in English, The Times Literary Supplement. And for very good reason: his intelligence and breadth of learning put him in the first rank of writers.
The memoir is the perfect place to exercise your demons, if the writer engages in restraint leavened by wit and an engaging style. Count your blessings this isn’t television or the movies: you actually have to use your perception skill as reader to bring alive what is printed on the page. It is an active engagement instead of a passive absorption of images and sound. That’s why movies and television are such useful, effective propaganda instruments.