Ghostwriter

Another prompt from Dailypost, this one a good one because I really haven’t gone into too much detail about my taste in books and authors.

The prompt goes like this: if I could have any author, living or dead, write my biography, who would it be and why?

I’m split between two answers, both of which would result in wildly different portraits of myself.

My first choice would be none other than J.D. Salinger. Now naturally, if this were the real world I doubt that Salinger would even consider the notion of writing a biography of anybody, being the recluse that he was after publishing The Catcher in the Rye (my favourite book of all time) as well as Raise High the Roof Beams, Franny and Zooey and Nine Stories.

Salinger wrote in such a completely honest and scathing way. Despite Catcher in the Rye having been written in the fifties, it reads very modern (with the exception of a few words of the period such as “flit”) and Holden Caulfield, as annoying as some people find him, is a truly fascinating character to follow around. I admire his extreme self-consciousness to the point where he knows he’s straying off the path he’s set for himself, and I love how he continues to ask people what happens to the ducks in the pond at Central Park.

His other books all read equally as sharply. Nine Stories is a collection of really depressing but fantastic short stories from the point of view of everybody from an intelligent young child to a military man to a kid on a baseball team. And Franny and Zooey, extended dialogue of a novel that it is, shoves in so much social commentary it’s incredible.

So Salinger would be an interesting person to write about my life. I don’t feel like, at the age of 21, there would be a lot to write about, but in a couple of decades maybe I’ll have done a little more with myself.

Now, my other choice for biographer would be another fiction writer, this time Carlos Ruis Zafón. He is a Spanish author who wrote one of my other favourite books of all time, The Angel’s Game and the Shadow of the Wind before it. It does good for one to read authors outside of Canada, the US and Britain every once in a while. Whoops, that just reminded me of a third author that I’d want to be my biographer. But I’ll continue on here.

Zafón is an author whose biggest strength is his breathtakingly poetic descriptions. His novels I’ve read thus far take place in Spain starting around the 1900s and onward from there. I’ve never been to Spain, but his writing paints such a picture of my mind, And his clear love of books makes for an important part of his novels that are a part of the cycle called the Cemetery of Forgotten Books.

I would seem about five times more interesting to people if Zafón were to write about me.

Which brings me to my third choice of biographer. He is my favourite author of all time, and he is Haruki Murakami.

Had it not been for a co-worker recommending him to me, I would have never picked up my favourite book of his, Kafka on the Shore. I’ve since collected many more of his books (I own nine of them but I still haven’t read them all), all because of how enamoured I am with his writing style. He writes in a very simple, effacing style. A theory that circulates among his readers is that the protagonist in each of his books is the same character, only in different universes.

There are some repeated conventions in his stories; his characters all seem to love either jazz or classical or classic rock music, and a lot of his characters, for some reason, seem to have an ear fetish. Oh yes,and also cats. But he is an author who knows audience expectations and often subverts them. Read Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World and just try and tell me you expected it to end the way it did.

Murakami doesn’t give a shit how his writing is portrayed and seems to write what he likes. And that works fine, because he’s probably the most famous Japanese author that is known worldwide.

A biography of me by him would probably reveal lots of little quirks about me that I probably wouldn’t even notice.

So there you have it, my three choices. All great authors, all three of whom would create very different narratives about me.

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