Confessions Of a New Boy
Penguin, 372 pp, $9.95 pb
The autobiographer faces a real problem: the self. ‘Which self?’ may also be the reader’s question and it may also be the question of the autobiographer. Should one write about the known self, the self vaunted or scorned by others, the public one, parts of which can be found in archives, on record, in the books and conversations of friends and enemies? Or should it be the private self, the self-protected and defended by jokes, chiack and taciturnity, hinted at here or there, but never accepted as real when defined by others?
Donald Horne gives us the invented self, a fictive rather than fictional character, real up to a point, private up to a point, but guarded with irony, protected by the Colgate ring of smiling good humour. Not-so-young Donald is an obvious source of amusement to biographer Donald and we are fortunate to be able to share his joke.