24 November, 2020

On Another Man’s Wound

Roger Casement—humanist, colonial, Irish nationalist—and his tragic life is recreated by the inimitable Llosa

On Another Man’s Wound

A serendipitous moment—one when you make a striking and unexpected discovery quite by accident—is the genesis of Mario Vargas Llosa’s most recent novel. A single sentence in a biography of Joseph Conrad aroused his curiosity. “Without you,” Conrad wrote to a certain Roger Casement, “I would have never written Heart of Darkness.” Vargas hadn’t heard that name before. So he began to investigate. The investigation, conducted in three continents, lasted three years. Every bit of information he harvested added to his admiration for a man who had inspired the author of one of the greatest modernist novels.

Born to a Protestant father and a Catholic mother in a suburb of Dublin in 1864, Roger Casement was brought up and educated as a pro-British Irish Anglican. As a boy, he was in thrall of his father, an officer in the Third Regiment of Light Dragoons, who would regale his children with stories of his days in Afghanistan and India. The accounts of British soldiers battling “turbaned fanatics” in the crags and...



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