The Secret

Travelling always makes me quiver. There is something profoundly existentially unsettling in moving across borders.

So as I am perusing the book shelves at the airport, I am naturally attracted to a book with familiarity. But it is not just familiarity, it is an empathy with the writing of the author that I am attracted to.

Eva Hoffman’s The Secret was a book I had never even heard about. Whenever I am in a bookshop I always look for her work, usually finding only copies of books I already have. So this came as a surprise.

I am still reading through it from the hotel room and have deduced already some of the plot. But is that a problem? It is not the story that holds me, it is the manner of its telling.

Eva Hoffman’s stories generate organically from a deep sense of personal history. The narrative she follows forms points of collision – where real and imagined histories coincide with her story. It is this depth, this layering, that makes her writing so compelling.

Again, I return to the primacy of narrative. Without the story, we have nothing to say. When we meet someone, we tell them our story (about our life, work, family) so that they can come to some knowledge of "us". What is your story? Can you tell it well? I think there is a secret to storytelling and it has something to do with authenticity. More to come on this!