I started off reading James Knowlson’s Damned to Fame, a biography on the life of Samuel Beckett, like a textbook – fishing for details with an eye to catch dates and places. More than 700 pages later, as the bibliography looms, it feels as though I’m peering into a mirror held up to my life, and I cannot go on. Can barely go on. The things one held, things at some point lost, things once hoped for.
It is a tribute to Knowlson’s writing, who blends a spectacular palette of narratives into one – a life – to reflect a story that, at some point, we recognise ourselves in.